Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Updated: January 7, 1:53 PM ET
Other three finalists may interview again
By Len Pasquarelli
For the second time in less than a week, the Arizona Cardinals have interviewed Dennis Green about the team's head coach vacancy, ESPN.com has learned.
Cardinals officials traveled to the West Coast for the session and, although the club has said it plans second interviews with all four identified candidates, Green is the first to get an encore audience. The other candidates are former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel -- a onetime Cardinals offensive coordinator -- and current NFL defensive coordinators Jim Johnson of Philadelphia and Romeo Crennel of New England.
Johnson and Crennel will not be available again while their teams are in the playoffs.
Vice president Michael Bidwill, the son of owner Bill Bidwill, indicated Monday that the successor to Dave McGinnis will come from that quartet. He said the job might be offered before all four candidates have a second interview.
Green first huddled Dec. 31 with members of the Bidwill family and vice president of football operations Rod Graves. That interview took place at the Cardinals' complex. League sources have suggested that Green, 54, is the coach most coveted by the long-suffering organization.
Sources said that during the Tuesday interview, the Cardinals asked Green what they termed the "tough questions," including queries about past off-field incidents. Green is said to have been candid and, for the second time, very impressive in expressing to the Arizona officials his on-field and personnel philosophies.
Green remains a candidate with the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins, as well, and is almost certain to return to the NFL after a two-year hiatus. He compiled a record of 101-70 during 10 seasons with the Vikings and went to the playoffs in eight of those campaigns. He currently serves as an ESPN studio analyst.
In other NFL coaching developments:
There were discussions Tuesday between Chicago Bears officials and representatives for LSU coach Nick Saban, but no interview was arranged. Saban continues to discuss a potential contract extension with the school, but sources told ESPN.com that he has not closed the door on the NFL. In addition to the Bears, the Atlanta Falcons are interested in talking with Saban.
Former Raiders coach Bill Callahan, fired last week, will interview on Wednesday for the vacancy at the University of Nebraska, ESPN.com has confirmed. A high-character coach, despite criticism from some veteran Raiders players, Callahan might be an excellent fit in Lincoln, Neb. He has a strong offensive mind, is an excellent teacher and enjoys dealing with younger players.
Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes arrived in Washington for the first of what likely will be two days of interviews with Redskins officials. Rhodes is the third candidate to meet with the Redskins, following Fassel and Green. The team has said that it has no plans for now to broaden the search, but there were signs that might not be the case, with sources telling ESPN.com that Washington has begun looking into several top NFL assistants for possible interviews.
Rhodes, 53, had stints as an NFL head coach with Philadelphia (1995-98) and Green Bay (1999). He was the Redskins' defensive coordinator in 2000.
Fassel interviewed Tuesday with Buffalo general manager Tom Donahoe and was asked by the Bills to remain overnight for a second session Wednesday. It is believed that Fassel tops the Washington wish list and that the Redskins will make him an offer when he finished interviewing with other teams.
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, one of the NFL's most fertile and creative minds, will interview Wednesday for the Buffalo opening, created when the Bills dismissed Gregg Williams after three seasons. Mularkey and Donahoe know each other well, having worked together with the Steelers.
Tim Lewis, who lost his job as Steelers defensive coordinator on Tuesday, also lost a chance for a repeat interview in Atlanta. The Falcons had summoned Lewis for a Thursday meeting, but when it was announced that he had been dismissed by Pittsburgh, they canceled the interview. Lewis originally met with Falcons officials in Pittsburgh last week.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.