CLEVELAND — For years, Peyton Manning has been viewed as a possible front office alternative for the Browns, given his University of Tennessee connection with owner Jimmy Haslam.
With wholesale changes possible with the Browns 0-9 and 1-24 under the current regime, a run at Manning seems more likely than ever.
CBS’ Jason La Canfora reported Sunday morning Haslam’s interest in Manning for a prominent team president/top executive role is “very strong and sincere,” citing league sources.
The report included that the Haslam-Manning relationship is “much closer” than many realize.
Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, could be added atop the front office structure that is currently led by head of football operations Sashi Brown. He could also replace Brown.
Of course, Manning would have to agree to join the franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2002. Excluding the Haslam ties, Manning doesn’t have a connection to Cleveland or the Browns.
He retired after the 2015 season and may not be ready to return to a full-time role within an organization. He also will likely have multiple choices of teams to join.
Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) is active and expected to start today against the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Fournette didn’t practice Friday and was listed as questionable. He’s seventh in the NFL with 629 yards rushing.
The Jaguars will be without left guard Patrick Omameh (quadriceps), right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and receiver Allen Hurns (ankle).
The Browns will have their entire starting offensive line after uncertainty early in the week.
Right tackle Shon Coleman was cleared from the concussion protocol, and center JC Tretter (knee/shoulder/quadriceps) will play after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday.
The Jaguars lead the league with 35 sacks.
The inactives for the Browns are healthy scratches: quarterback Kevin Hogan, receiver Bryce Treggs, cornerback Darius Hillary, guard Marcus Martin, tight end Matt Lengel and defensive tackles T.Y. McGill and Caleb Brantley.
Receiver Corey Coleman is expected to replace Kenny Britt in the starting lineup. Coleman was activated from injured reserve Thursday after missing seven games with a broken right hand.
Jimmy and Dee Haslam met with the players Monday, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram.
NFL Network reported the Haslams offered support and discussed the difficult season, citing sources. They also encouraged the players to continue to give strong effort over the final seven games.
“Essentially, the Haslams told the players they knew rebuilding would take time and while everyone wants to win, their work and effort down the stretch was appreciated,” the report stated. “The wins haven’t come, but the owners wanted the players to know that this a process.”