Agent: Greg Roman finalist at Penn St.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman is a finalist to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State, his agent said Monday.
Mike Harrison told The Associated Press by phone that Roman interviewed for the position in November and is on the "short list" to take over the embattled program, rocked in recent months by the sex-abuse scandal.
Harrison said he expects to know soon whether Roman will be hired, but declined to offer further details, such as whether Roman would finish out the season with the playoff-bound NFC West champion 49ers (13-3). San Francisco is the NFC's No. 2 seed and earned a first-round bye, with its first game Jan. 14 at Candlestick Park.
"We should know in a week or so, that's our best guess," said Harrison, of the Los Angeles-based agency Advantage Sports & Entertainment. "He interviewed quite a while ago."
Penn State's season came to an end Monday with a 30-14 loss to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas.
Harrison said Roman, who came to the 49ers from Stanford along with coach Jim Harbaugh last year, was offered the Tulane job to replace Bob Toledo. Tulane hired Curtis Johnson last month.
Acting Penn State athletic director David Joyner said there isn't anybody who could be classified as a leading candidate in its nearly two-month long search for a football coach.
But sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Penn State had identified New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as the coach it wants to succeed Paterno, and that the two sides are expected to meet this week to try to work out a deal.
O'Brien is in the last year of his contract with the Patriots.
"Bill is focusing on another Super Bowl run," O'Brien's agent, Joe Linta, said Sunday. "However, if an NFL team or Penn State seeks permission from Bill Belichick, then Bill will speak to them."
Last week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak was the school's choice to succeed Paterno. Munchak responded to the report saying he wasn't leaving Tennessee. On Saturday, sources told ESPN's Joe Schad that Munchak was torn about reconsidering that stance.
Penn State has been without a permanent coach since Nov. 9, when university trustees fired Paterno in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno does not face charges in the scandal but has been criticized in connection with it.
Sandusky is awaiting trial and pleaded not guilty after waiving a preliminary court hearing last month.
Longtime defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who has been leading the team on an interim basis, has interviewed for the job. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is also among the candidates who have interviewed.
Roman became the 49ers' ninth offensive coordinator in as many seasons when Harbaugh hired him. While the offense has hardly been flashy, quarterback Alex Smith and San Francisco ended an eight-year playoff drought -- with the 49ers' 10 total turnovers ranking fewest in the NFL this season.
Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall pick out of Utah, threw just five interceptions -- fewest in a single season in franchise history and tied for fewest in NFL history.
The 39-year-old Roman, who was Stanford's associate head coach and is working his 15th NFL season, tutored two Heisman Trophy runners-up while coaching the Cardinal: current Vikings running back Toby Gerhart in 2009 and projected No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck in 2010.
That year, Roman guided a Cardinal offense that ranked ninth nationally in points scored that season at 40.3, 14th in total yards per game (472.5), 17th in yards rushing per game (213.8) and first in time of possession (34:34).
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.