Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Browns will interview 49ers assistant Joe Woods for defensive coordinator job on Thursday

Feb 4, 2020 at 7:45 PM--

With the Super Bowl over, the Cleveland Browns are free to pursue San Francisco 49ers passing-game coordinator and defensive backs coach Joe Woods for their vacant defensive coordinator job. The Browns will interview the 49ers assistant on Thursday, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.

Woods does not require the 49ers permission to interview with other NFL clubs The one-year contract he signed with San Francisco expired when the clock hit zero at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Sunday. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan cannot block the move.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has familiarity with Woods, having worked with him in Minnesota from 2006 through 2013. He was willing to wait for the 49ers to complete their playoff run, so Thursday's interview may simply be a formality.

Mary Kay Cabot of reported on Monday that the Browns plan to hire Woods. 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh spoke last week as if Woods' departure was a near certainty.

"A guy like Joe Woods, there's not a lot of great coaches in this league," Saleh told, "and he's one of them and he's special. Obviously losing him is going to hurt.''

Woods has experience calling defensive plays. He spent two seasons (2017-18) as the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator before joining Shanahan's staff. Woods was the Broncos' defensive backs coach before that (2015-16) and has previously served on the coaching staffs of the Oakland Raiders (2014), Minnesota Vikings (2006–13), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004–05).

One potential candidate to replace Woods on Shanahan's staff could be former Dallas Cowboys passing-game coordinator and defensive backs coach Kris Richard, whom the team is reportedly interested in.

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