The Browns on Saturday will interview San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh for the team's head coach opening.
Saleh, the leader of one of the NFL's stingiest and nastiest defenses this season, is the fourth candidate to interview. Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman interviewed Thursday and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy interviewed Friday.
Saleh, 40, has been in his position with the 49ers since 2017. After the 49ers made incremental improvements in Saleh's first two years at the helm, this season has been, by far, the best, as San Francisco finished second in the league in total defense (281.8 yards allowed per game) and tied for first in yards allowed per play (4.7). No one was better than the 49ers in pass defense (169.2 yards allowed per game), either, and they ranked fifth in the league with 48 sacks. Saleh's defense played a big role in the 49ers' rise up the NFC West, a division they won for the first time since 2012, and why they hold the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NFC playoffs.
Saleh joined Kyle Shanahan's staff in San Francisco after working as a linebackers coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-16. Jacksonville's defense was among the best in the league during that stretch, and the linebackers under Saleh's watch played a big role. Paul Posluszny was among the league leaders in tackles in 2015 and 2016 while Telvin Smith registered 350 tackles from 2014-16, the most ever by a Jaguars player during the first three years of their career.
Saleh won a Super Bowl in 2013 as a defensive quality control coach with the Seattle Seahawks. He's also worked with the Houston Texans, who gave him his first NFL job in 2005 as a defensive intern before promoting him to defensive quality control coach in 2006 and assistant linebackers coach in 2009.
Saleh is a Dearborn, Michigan, native who was a four-year starting tight end at Northern Michigan University. He coached at the college level at Michigan State, Central Michigan and Georgia before landing his first NFL job.
Robert Saleh - 49ers defensive coordinator
Hometown: Dearborn, Michigan
College: Northern Michigan
NFL Experience: 15 years