NFL roundup: Broncos to start coaching search

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen's search for Mike Shanahan's successor begins today with a trip to the East Coast.

Bowlen and chief operating officer Joe Ellis will meet in New York with Steve Spagnuolo, who has been the Giants' defensive coordinator the past two seasons. The 49-year-old Spagnuolo was the architect of the pass rush that stymied Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in last year's Super Bowl.

Then it's on to Boston, where the Broncos' brass will interview Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels, a 32-year-old rising star who worked his way up from graduate assistant to offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick.

Tampa Bay assistant coach Raheem Morris, also 32, is the first candidate who will travel to Denver for his shot at the job. He'll interview at team headquarters on Wednesday.

Morris, who has served as the Buccaneers' defensive-backs coach for the past two seasons, will replace Monte Kiffin as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator if he doesn't land the head-coaching job in Denver.

The Broncos also are reaching out to other coaches to gauge interest in one of the league's prime jobs, one Shanahan held for 14 seasons, winning two Super Bowls in the 1990s.

High atop the wish list is believed to be Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who is preparing his second-ranked Sooners to face No. 1 Florida in the BCS championship game in Miami on Thursday.

Another intriguing possibility is Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who turned down offers last winter from Baltimore and Atlanta after the Cowboys made him the highest-paid coordinator at $3 million.

Denver is planning to interview Garrett at some point next week, the team said Friday.

Browns interview Patriots' McDanielsNew England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels interviewed with Browns owner Randy Lerner about Cleveland's coaching vacancy.

The Ohio-born-and bred McDaniels just completed his third season overseeing the Patriots' offense and coaching quarterbacks. The 32-year-old former college quarterback was credited with transforming backup Matt Cassel into an effective starter after Tom Brady was lost for the season after injuring his knee in the opener.

McDaniels is the third coaching candidate to meet with Lerner, who spoke with fired Jets coach Eric Mangini on Tuesday and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Thursday.

Spagnuolo has also met with Detroit and will talk with the Jets today.

Jets begin interview processThe New York Jets met with assistants Bill Callahan and Brian Schottenheimer for the team's coaching vacancy, kicking off the first round of interviews as they seek a replacement for the fired Eric Mangini.

The Jets had no other interviews scheduled as of Friday night, and it appeared recently fired Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer were not on the team's immediate radar.

ELSEWHERENew York Jets running back Thomas Jones clarified his critical comments of earlier this week on Brett Favre, saying he would expect the record-setting quarterback to answer questions the same way about him if he had performed poorly in a key game. ... The NFL has given Minnesota one last chance to sell out the Metrodome for Sunday's playoff game against Philadelphia. The Vikings have until 4:30 p.m. today to sell the remaining 3,100 tickets to avoid a television blackout in local markets. ... Buffalo safety Ko Simpson was arrested outside a bar in his hometown of Rock Hill, S.C., after he refused to leave officers alone as they arrested another man, according to a police report. Simpson was in a car that was speeding through the parking lot of the Celebrations bar around 2 a.m. New Year's Day.

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