Throughout the Browns' search for a new head coach, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down the candidates as they go through the interview process with the team. We continue with a look at Greg Roman, the current offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.
1) Although he has never been a head coach, Roman has been in the NFL for 22 seasons dating back to 1995 when he got his start with expansion Carolina in a quality control role on the Panthers defense. The Panthers won an NFC West championship in just their second season. His next stop included another expansion team – the Houston Texans – before his first stint with the Ravens, when he would aid the Ravens to an AFC North title in 2006 as an assistant offensive line coach.
2) Following his departure from the Ravens after a 5-11 season in 2007 under Brian Billick, his next stop was arguably his most influential and set a small part of a foundation for the electrifying Baltimore offense we witnessed this season. In an ESPN.com profile, it was his offensive coordinator role at his high school alma mater, Holy Spirit (N.J.), that played a major part in spawning his play-calling improvisation and creativity. This year's AFC North champs led the league in points per game (33.2), set a new NFL record for rushing yards in a season (3,296) led by the frontrunner candidate for MVP, Lamar Jackson -- who set his own league record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season (1,206) -- and were second in the league in yards per game (407.6). "It was definitely a risky and outside-the-box move," Roman told ESPN. "But I had never called plays before. I felt like I had a good enough reputation that I'd get hired somewhere."
3) ... And he did. Enter the Harbaugh connection. No, not John. That came later. Roman worked under his brother, Jim Harbaugh, for two seasons at Stanford before leaving alongside him and making his way back to the NFL with San Francisco as the 49ers offensive coordinator in 2011. The 2010 edition of the Cardinal with Andrew Luck under center went 12-1 and beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Roman was a honored as finalist for the Broyles Award, which goes to the top assistant coach in college football. In four seasons with the 49ers, Roman's offense revolved around Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco reached three straight NFC title games, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. The 49ers had a top-five NFL rushing attack from 2012-14.
4) No stranger to the Cleveland area, Roman spent his college days starring on the defensive line at John Carroll University. He earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference honorable mention status after his senior season as the Blue Streaks captured a share of the 1994 OAC title. It would be the Blue Streaks' last conference championship until 2016, when they ended national power Mount Union's incredible winning streak of 112 regular season games.
5. Pro Football Talk named Roman their assistant coach of the year in an article published Wednesday because of his ability to shape the Ravens' offense around Jackson. Although a candidate for the Browns' head coaching job, Roman told BaltimoreRavens.com that his attention won't fully turn until the completion of the Ravens campaign, which will continue Jan. 11 in the AFC divisional round. "I think everything has its place," Roman told the site, "You've got to be able to compartmentalize. … When that opportunity comes, it will be addressed. Right now, we have three opponents to get ready for. My focus is certainly on our guys and our team and our offense."