INDIANAPOLIS – The only thing Mike Pettine is concerned about is his current job title.
The Browns’ new head coach didn’t seem the least bit fazed on Saturday when questioned about Cleveland’s reported interest in 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“I think that’s noise,” Pettine said Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Citing “multiple league sources,” ProFootballTalk.com reported Friday that the Browns “nearly pulled off” a trade that would have sent multiple draft picks to San Francisco in exchange for the rights to Harbaugh.
The 49ers and their head coach later refuted the report, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweeted Saturday that the Browns “did indeed make a run at Jim Harbaugh that reached a serious stage.”
The alleged talks between both teams seemed to matter little to Pettine, who first heard the news from a Browns staffer. "I got the phone call before the report was about to come out and I shot the messenger a bit," Pettine said. "I said, 'How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?' I think in my next sentence I used the word 'flying' followed by something or referenced a part of a rat's body."
Pettine -- who spent four seasons as the Jets’ defensive coordinator alongside Rex Ryan, before taking the same job with the Bills in 2013 -- maintained the report has "no bearing on my job moving forward. And I think that’s a critical thing. I think a big part of being an NFL head coach is dealing with the noise and the distractions.”
Asked if there seems to be a lot more “noise” in Cleveland than in other NFL cities, Pettine replied: “That is potentially an accurate statement. I’d like to think it’s going to get quiet. And that’s my goal – to quiet the noise.”
While few seemed to want the Browns’ head coaching job, Pettine said he wakes up every day thankful to be with the organization.
“I know that I’m very blessed to be here, that my path was different and I think that’s helped motivate me,” he said. “I’m the proverbial guy from the mail room. I don’t have the pedigree like some other coaches have – former players or college-made coaches. I feel like I’ve worked my way up and have had a lot to overcome. And I think that’s helped motivate me.
“It’s been a chip on my shoulder. Whether it’s real or perceived, I’ve always been ‘that guy was a just a high school coach’ or ‘that guy was just getting Rex’s coffee.’ That’s what’s motivated me and I think that’s a big part of why I’m here today.”