On Tuesday morning, the NFL Network's Albert Breer reported the Patriots granted Cleveland permission to interview Josh McDaniels.
The 4-12 Browns finished fourth in the NFC North this year and fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after Sunday's season finale. Rumors of the team's interest in New England's offensive coordinator circulated the same evening.
Bill Belichick would not speak to the reports on his Tuesday conference call.
"I'm not going to get into any of that," he said. "The procedures are in place with the league, and so forth. Any comments on that I don't think are appropriate."
McDaniels first joined the Patriots as a personnel assistant in 2001. He left New England, the offensive coordinator by then, in 2009, to try his hand as head coach in Denver. After two seasons with the Broncos he moved to St. Louis to be OC of the Rams.
The Patriots brought McDaniels back as an offensive coaching assistant during their 2011 playoff run and named him coordinator the following season.
Cleveland is looking to hire its fifth head coach in the last seven years.