The Browns would also be open to considering Bill Cowher if he sends stronger signals that he's ready to return, the sources said.
The Browns plan to fire coach Romeo Crennel after a disappointing year, the sources said. Publicly, owner Randy Lerner has said only that he will evaluate Crennel after the season.
Various media outlets have also been speculating on the future of general manager Phil Savage, a former Ravens executive. Sources said Lerner prefers to keep Savage to run his personnel department but could scale back his overall duties, which include the final say on all roster moves.
Before the 2008 season, Savage signed a four-year contract extension for an average of $2.7 million per year, the sources said.
However, Lerner is contemplating a different authority - or "voice" of the franchise - that can filled by an experienced coach like Cowher or Schottenheimer, the sources said.
Schottenheimer recently said he had no plans to return to the sideline, but sources said he would consider coming back "for the job ... with a team that has a good core of talent."
Schottenheimer, 65, was fired by the San Diego Chargers after leading the team to a 14-2 record in 2006 and a first-round playoff bye. But a home second-round playoff loss to the New England Patriots and a broken relationship with general manager A.J. Smith led to a surprising dismissal in February 2007. Several Chargers players were upset at the firing.
Schottenheimer was defensive coordinator for the Browns, now the Ravens, under Sam Rutigliano in 1980 but took over as head coach when Rutigliano was fired midway through the 1984 season. Schottenheimer had a 44-27 record with the Browns, won three divisional titles, had four playoff appearances and two AFC championship game appearances. before he was fired by owner Art Modell.
Overall, in coaching stints with the Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and Chargers, Schottenheimer is one of only seven coaches with at least 200 career victories. His playoff record is 5-13.
DOLPHINS: : The father of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino has died at the age of 71 in Weston, Fla., a Pittsburgh funeral home announced. No cause of death was immediately given..
The younger Marino was inducted into the Hall in 2005 after playing for the Dolphins from 1983 to 1999, with career statistics that include 4,967 completions, 8,358 passing attempts for 61,361 yards and being the first player to pass for 5,000 yards in a season.
RAMS: : Offensive tackle Alex Barron's string of 47 consecutive starts ended yesterday when he was inactive for the loss to the Cardinals. Barron was benched for being late to a team meeting Friday. Coach Jim Haslett started Adam Goldberg in Barron's place.