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AP Source: Browns close to deal with Kelly

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AP Source: Browns close to deal with Kelly

CLEVELAND (AP) Chip Kelly is closer to taking his fast-paced offense to the NFL.

A person familiar with the negotiations said the Cleveland Browns are nearing a deal with Oregon's offensive mastermind to be their next coach.

The Browns interviewed Kelly on Friday and the Ducks' coach also met with the Buffalo Bills in Arizona. Kelly has a scheduled interview with Philadelphia on Saturday. However, a person familiar with the interview said the Eagles are ``heading in another direction'' because Kelly is nearing a deal with Cleveland.

That person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team isn't discussing its negotiations publicly, said the Eagles planned to interview several other candidates regardless of any conversations with Kelly. The Eagles were granted permission Friday to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and plan to meet Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported late Friday night that the Browns and Kelly met for seven hours - five in negotiations with a two-hour break for dinner - and agreed to talk again Saturday night. Mortensen said Kelly said still intends to meet with the Eagles some time on Saturday. The Browns are ``favored,'' Mortensen reported.

The Bills confirmed in an email they met with Kelly, but gave no indication of how long they spoke to him. The team also interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Syracuse's Doug Marrone.

The Browns, who made their last playoff appearance 10 years ago on Saturday, have declined to comment on any interviews during their coaching search.

Following Oregon's win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night, the 49-year-old Kelly said he wanted to get the interview process over ``quickly.''

He came close to jumping to the pros last year but turned down an offer from Tampa Bay to return for his fourth season as head coach at Oregon, where he is 46-7. He has boosted the school's national profile - flashy uniforms helped - with a high-powered offense capable of turning any game into a track meet.

``It's more a fact-finding mission, finding out if it fits or doesn't fit,'' Kelly said after the Ducks beat No. 7 Kansas State 35-17. ``I've been in one interview in my life for the National Football League, and that was a year ago. I don't really have any preconceived notions about it. I think that's what this deal is all about for me. It's not going to affect us in terms of we're not on the road (recruiting). I'll get an opportunity if people do call, see where they are.

``I want to get it wrapped up quickly and figure out where I'm going to be.''

Kelly has been at or near the top of the Browns' list of candidates since the team fired Pat Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two seasons. Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have been conducting interviews in Arizona all week, searching for the team's sixth full-time coach since 1999.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton confirmed he interviewed with Cleveland earlier this week. The Browns have reportedly met with former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, Marrone and Penn State's Bill O'Brien, who removed himself from any consideration on Thursday night and intends to stay at the school.

The Browns might have been interested in Alabama's Nick Saban, but the 61-year-old doesn't seem to have any interest in returning to the NFL after two seasons with Miami.

Kelly doesn't have any pro coaching experience, but aspects of his up-tempo offense are already being used by some NFL teams, including New England and Washington.

Kelly wouldn't say if he was leaning one way or another following the Ducks' bowl win.

``I said I'll always listen, and that's what I'll do,'' he said. ``I know that people want to talk to me because of our players. The success of our football program has always been about our guys. It's an honor for someone to say they'd want to talk to me about maybe moving on to go coach in the National Football League. But it's because of what those guys do. I'll listen, and we'll see.''

Oregon could be facing possible NCAA sanctions for the school's use of recruiting services, but Kelly indicated he isn't running from anything.

``We've cooperated fully with them,'' he said. ``If they want to talk to us again, we'll continue to cooperate fully. I feel confident in the situation.''

Oregon's players gave Kelly a Gatorade bath as the final seconds ticked off the clock in Thursday night's game, and afterward a few of the Ducks seemed resigned to their coach moving on.

``We'll have to see,'' quarterback Marcus Mariota said. ``Whatever he decides to do, we're all behind him. He's an unbelievable coach. He's not only a football coach, but he's someone that you can look to and learn a lot of life lessons from. Whatever happens, happens. But we're all behind him.

``We'll see where it takes us.''

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AP Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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Wizards at Cavs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Cavs: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle LeBron James, George Hill, Larry Nance, Jr. and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS AT CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT (pre- and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington Plus)
Live stream: TNTdrama.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Back in action

The Wizards return to the court after a week-long layoff due to the All-Star break. Add in the fact that they had three days off before their last game and this will be just the second game for the Wizards in the last 12 days. What is this, football?

The Wizards will try to overcome the rust to keep their momentum going. They entered the All-Star break having won seven of their last nine games. Though the time off was needed due to a wide array of injuries, the Wizards had a good thing going and will aim to recapture that against a good Cavs team.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Tough stretch

The Wizards come back with a game against the Cavs, a difficult first assignment after such a long layoff. But this is just the beginning of what will be a very difficult part of their schedule. In their next 17 games, the Wizards will play 15 times against teams currently holding playoff spots. That includes the Warriors, Celtics, Spurs and Raptors.

The schedule is tough beyond their opponents. Four times in the next three weeks they will play back-to-back games and they have five games in the next seven nights. Hopefully the players recharged their batteries because it won't be easy.

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

New-look Cavs

The Wizards and Cavs have played twice this season already and Cleveland took both of those matchups. However, that was all before the trade deadline when the Cavs overhauled their roster. They have won all three of their games since and look rejuvenated with younger players.

Now surrounding LeBron James are a host of new faces like George HIll, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards match up with this new group.

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Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

As a member of the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal has had many battles with LeBron James over the years, first with the Miami Heat and now with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the weekend, Beal got to experience having James as a teammate for the first time at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

It was an eye-opening endeavor. Beal got to see up close and personal James' abilities and his routine to maximize them. In a group of the best players on the planet, James stood out.

"It was surreal at first, just being around all the guys," Beal said. "Even just being on his team for two days, that was an unbelievable experience."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Beal, 24, is six seasons in to his NBA career and from experience has learned how to train for the rigors of an 82-game regular season. What James does at 33 years old to stay in peak form, however, is next level.

"To see his preparation, his focus and his mentality and what he does to take care of his body before and after games," Beal said. "That's the true testament to a Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the game."

James actually assisted Beal's first points in the All-Star Game, a two-handed dunk in the first quarter. James attacked the rim on a fastbreak to draw attention, then found Beal with a dump-off pass for an easy bucket.

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

It was an example of James' tricks of the trade. He is not just the most athletic player on the court, he is also the smartest when it comes to the game of basketball.

"His approach and his leadership and everything, it's top notch. It's crazy because you always play against him and to play with him, you get experience the other side of it," Beal said.

Beal, however, did note that much of what he gleaned from James was by watching him. At the end of the day, they are competitors and James isn't going to give away all of his secrets.

"He's not disclosing that information," Beal joked.

The Wizards happen to play James and the Cavs in their first game back from the All-Star break on Thursday night. Once again, Beal will be on the other side. 

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