College try may lure Palmer; Northwestern wants Ravens candidate


If Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Chris Palmer does not become the next coach of the Ravens, he could wind up in that same position at Northwestern University.

An NFL source confirmed last night that Palmer, who interviewed in Baltimore on Tuesday for the Ravens' job and also is considered a candidate to take over for the Cleveland Browns, is in line to succeed Gary Barnett as coach at Northwestern.

Barnett appears set to become the next coach at Colorado.

Along with Minnesota offensive coordinator Brian Billick -- with whom the Ravens cannot negotiate until after the Vikings' season has ended -- the Ravens have held Palmer in high regard since beginning their search to replace Ted Marchibroda.

The Ravens have yet to make an offer to Palmer. After Palmer had concluded his lengthy interview at the Ravens' Owings Mills complex, he told reporters of a "situation coming to a head that I have to make a decision on."

"[Palmer] was very impressive during his interview, but we will continue with our process," Ravens owner Art Modell said.

Palmer, who has 27 years of coaching experience, has been a head coach only at the collegiate level. He ran the program at New Haven from 1986 to 1987, posting 8-2 records in each season. After that, he coached for two years at Boston University, where he drew notice for successfully installing the run-and-shoot offense.

Palmer, 49, left Boston U. for the NFL in 1990. He spent three years as an assistant with the Houston Oilers, then moved on to New England, where he worked for three years as a receivers coach before becoming Drew Bledsoe's quarterbacks coach in 1996.

After New England's Super Bowl loss to Green Bay two years ago, Palmer became Jacksonville's offensive coordinator.

While the Ravens wait on Palmer, the Browns are free to work out a deal with Billick, who has interviewed in Cleveland.

"Chris came to Baltimore with every intention of getting a deal done with the Ravens," said Joe Linta, Palmer's agent. "He had a great meeting with Art Modell and he feels he can work with [vice president of player personnel] Ozzie Newsome.

"I think the Ravens are deciding if they want to wait for Brian Billick or not, and if they do, can they risk Chris Palmer being around. If both are gone, [the Ravens] will have to go with a lower-tier candidate. Something will happen in a day or so. Andy Reid went to Philadelphia to get a deal done, but he didn't get the offer until two days later."

In other developments, former Ravens special teams coach Scott O'Brien has taken the same job with the Carolina Panthers, and the Tennessee Titans are pursuing other members of the Ravens' old coaching staff. Former receivers coach Richard Mann interviewed in Nashville on Tuesday, and former defensive line coach Jacob Burney is expected to talk with the Titans this week.

Pub Date: 1/14/99

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