The Cleveland Browns reportedly want to interview former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for their head coaching job.
Browns general manager John Dorsey told reporters Thursday that he would consider a woman for the job, and ESPN has learned that Rice is at least one woman who they would like to interview.
Rice would be the first woman ever to interview for an NFL head coaching job.
Following the report, the Browns issued a statement from Dorsey that apparently denied that Rice was a candidate.
"Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan," Dorsey said in the statement. "I have the utmost respect and admiration for all she's accomplished and was honored to meet her for the first time earlier this season. Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed."
Rice herself also responded to the report on her Facebook page, saying she didn't want to coach but added that she hopes NFL teams will hire more women as coaches.
"I love my Browns -- and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level," Rice wrote. "On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches. One doesn't have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts -- and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches.
"BTW -- I'm not ready to coach but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas! And at no time will I call for a "prevent defense."
In the NFL, a few women have been hired in assistant coaching roles in recent years. The Buffalo Bills’ Kathryn Smith, a quality control assistant; the Oakland Raiders’ Kelsey Martinez as a strength and conditioning assistant; and the San Francisco 49ers’ Katie Sowers as an offensive assistant all have hired.
The NBA also has had a handful of women hired as assistant coaches in the past few years.
Rice, 64, an Alabama native, is a fan of the Browns who was seen on the field with the team’s owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, before Cleveland’s game against the Raiders in Oakland on Sept. 30.
If Rice interviews, and even possibly hired, it wouldn’t be her first experience working in football in some sort of capacity. When the College Football Playoff began starting with the 2014 season, she was one of the selection committee’s inaugural members. She remained in the role until 2016.
The Browns fired their previous head coach, Hue Jackson, on Oct. 29 after three seasons. He amassed a record of 3-36-1 during his tenure.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is serving as the interim head coach.