According to league sources, Lewis met with Buccaneers vice presidents Bryan and Joel Glazer last night in the Baltimore area. It's the first time that Lewis has sat down with anyone from the Glazer family, which owns the Buccaneers, and it's seen as a positive move in the hiring of the Ravens' defensive coordinator.
Although it is believed no deal was reached last night, an agreement in principle could be made as early as today. Tampa Bay officials are expected to make a formal announcement of Lewis and his staff on Monday.
Once Lewis is selected, the Ravens will promote receivers coach Mike Nolan as their defensive coordinator. Sources indicated yesterday that the Ravens would then hire Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach David Shaw as their new receivers-quarterbacks coach.
Shaw, 29, has five years of NFL coaching experience and is considered one of the fast-rising young coaches in the league. He played under Ravens coach Brian Billick for two years at Stanford.
The addition of Shaw means that Matt Cavanaugh can delegate his responsibilities as quarterbacks coach and free up time for his duties as offensive coordinator.
The Ravens are ready to announce their staff changes and promotions after Lewis is officially hired as Tampa Bay's coach.
Lewis, who has coached for 21 years, would be named to his first head coaching position. Combining the past three seasons, Lewis' defense has led the NFL in points and yards allowed per game.
Lewis, 43, met with Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay on Jan. 29 for five hours in Atlanta. McKay recommended Lewis as his choice, but the Glazers wanted to exhaust all efforts to obtain the rights to hire Raiders coach Jon Gruden. Talks between Tampa Bay and Oakland ended on Wednesday.
While Lewis could not be reached for comment last night, the Ravens' Pro Bowl players in Hawaii had mixed emotions over his pending departure.
"It's hard," said middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who was drafted in 1996 when Marvin Lewis became coordinator. "He's been a guy who's been around my entire career. It's a loss that's going to hurt."
Said defensive tackle Sam Adams: "Marvin has to feed his family. We wish he could stay, but we wish him luck."
Meanwhile, Ravens outside linebacker Jamie Sharper was in Houston yesterday and will take a physical for the Texans today. The Ravens' second-leading tackler last season is expected to be taken in the Feb. 18 expansion draft.
"I'm definitely ready to close that door," Sharper said of leaving the Ravens. "If you look at some of the things we accomplished with our defense two years ago and the things we had a chance to accomplish this year, the team changed a little bit. Now, the linebacker coach [Jack Del Rio] is going to Carolina, Marvin is probably going to Tampa; it's time for a new change.
"It's a new team up there, and I'm ready to move on. It's a different team in Baltimore. It's going to be more of an offensive team now. Hopefully, Elvis can lead those guys around."
NOTES: Contrary to published reports, the Ravens granted the Washington Redskins permission to speak to Lewis regarding their defensive coordinator position. Even though Lewis' contract has expired with the Ravens, it's considered a courtesy for teams to ask permission before contacting other teams' coaches. ...
The Ravens have allocated six players to NFL Europe: receivers Kenyon Hambrick (a member of the team's practice squad) and Albert Horsey (spent 2000 season on injured reserve), running backs Derek Homer (released at end of training camp) and Morgan Kane (member of Carolina Panthers' practice squad), quarterback Cleo Lemon (first-year player out of Arkansas State) and offensive tackle Damon Nivens (cut in New Orleans Saints' training camp). The Ravens will be looking to see if Homer can return kicks. ...
The Atlanta Falcons were denied permission to talk with Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' senior vice president of football operations, about their general manager position.