Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Updated: January 16, 10:15 AM ET
Sources: Ravens make offer to Garrett to be head coach
By Ed Werder
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has been offered the Baltimore Ravens coaching position, sources told ESPN.
According to a league source, there is a "60-40'' chance Garrett will ultimately accept the opportunity to succeed Brian Billick, who was fired after the regular season. However, sources told ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli that Garrett left Baltimore Tuesday afternoon without making any decision about the job. Sources said he was en route to Atlanta for a second interview with Falcons officials.
Garrett, who arrived at the Ravens' training complex for the second interview Tuesday morning, was the first candidate to have call-back sessions with the Ravens and Falcons.
According to The Associated Press, Garrett met with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general
manager Ozzie Newsome. Neither Garrett nor the Ravens said a contract had been placed
on the table or that the Cowboys had offered a counterproposal.
"I had a really productive day today," Garrett said, according to AP. "I'm
going to continue through this process I'm in right now and at some
point we'll make some decisions on both sides."
Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne told the AP, "We had a good day of
interviews. It's the start of the second round. We have more interviews for the second round later on in the week."
Newsome declined comment to the AP, and Bisciotti was not made available.
Newsome will be out of town Wednesday, and interview sessions could
resume as soon as Thursday.
According to a Cowboys source, Dallas owner Jerry Jones has communicated to Garrett without knowing exactly what the Ravens' financial offer might be that he would match it if Garrett rejects the Ravens' offer.
Jones has said he would compete for Garrett, not only because he has helped transform Tony Romo into one of the league's best young quarterbacks but also because the Cowboys' owner views Garrett as potentially being his next head coach.
"There's a feeling that if Jason talks to Jerry last, Jerry can convince him to stay,'' the source said. "Jerry can be a very persuasive guy.''
But if Garrett believes he is ready to be an NFL head coach and convinced that the Ravens offer the right opportunity, there ultimately might be nothing Jones can do. Garrett left Dallas for his second meeting with the Ravens on Monday and remained in Baltimore for a second consecutive day.
"It was a great day. I had a chance to start this process last
week, and was excited to come back and visit again," Garrett said on Tuesday, according to AP. "It's been an exciting time for me to be here."
Garrett, 41, is a veteran of three seasons as an NFL assistant. He was hired by the Cowboys as offensive coordinator in 2007, after two seasons on the Miami Dolphins' staff. In 2007, he presided over a unit that statistically ranked No. 3 in the league but struggled in the final month of the year and in Sunday's playoff loss.
A former Princeton quarterback, Garrett played 12 seasons in the NFL as a backup, serving stints with Dallas (1993-99), the New York Giants (2000-03), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004) and Miami (2004). He also played in the World League (1991) and in the CFL (1991).
Before the Cowboys' playoff loss to the Giants, Jones said he was prepared to work hard to retain Garrett. "I respect his abilities as a coach. I'm impressed with the success of his guidance relative to our offense," he said. "When you say I went to great lengths to get him, I did, but I didn't give up the Cowboys to get him. Everything is relative.
"What to do to keep him? I'd work hard, but there are some things I can't control."
Jones must also deliberate whether the league's second-highest scoring offense can lose both Garrett and assistant head coach Tony Sparano, who is believed to be the front-runner to rejoin Bill Parcells as head coach of the Dolphins.
Garrett has ties with the Ravens. His father, Jim, was a Cleveland Browns assistant who coached Pat Moriarty, a running back who is now the Ravens' vice president of football administration. Newsome, the Ravens'
general manager, was the tight end on that same Cleveland team.
Jones continues to indicate that he will not fire Wade Phillips after one season to keep Garrett in Dallas. But Jones has such high regard for Garrett that he hired him before he appointed Phillips the head coach when Parcells retired from coaching.
In fact, Garrett interviewed so well at this time last year that Jones nearly hired him instead of Phillips but ultimately decided to hire him as an assistant and place him first on the list of potential successors.
Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.