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First up for interviews: playoff teams' assistants

The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens yesterday requested interviews with assistant coaches on NFL playoff teams for their head coaching vacancy, according to a high-ranking team official.

The team would not reveal any names or even the number of candidates, but it is believed that the Ravens faxed requests to speak to two Dallas Cowboys assistants, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and assistant head coach Tony Sparano; Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell; and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. None of the teams would confirm whether the Ravens have sought permission to interview their assistants.

The Ravens fired coach Brian Billick and his staff Monday.

Sources close to the team also said the Ravens were preparing to make a run at former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, a CBS television analyst. One source said the Ravens were planning to meet with Cowher this weekend, but a team official said that is untrue. The Ravens, however, have not removed Cowher from consideration.

The first step of the Ravens' coaching search centers on assistants with playoff teams because of the limited window to talk with them. Under league rules, coaches on teams in the postseason can interview for vacancies during their bye week, which ends Saturday.

Garrett, the hot name in coaching circles, is scheduled to meet tomorrow with the Atlanta Falcons about their opening.

The Ravens are expected to fly out to meet the candidates and conduct interviews. They are still discussing which team officials will be involved in the interview process.

Another potential candidate could be San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach/defense Mike Singletary, who is believed to be a candidate for the head coaching job in Atlanta.

While the Ravens pursue a coach, there is a chance they might lose some of their front-office personnel. George Kokinis, the Ravens' director of pro personnel, and Eric DeCosta, the team's director of college scouting, could be candidates for NFL general manager positions.

Kokinis has been mentioned as a candidate for the Falcons job. Atlanta plans to hire a general manager to take over for Rich McKay, who will remain as team president.

Asked whether teams have sought permission to speak to Kokinis and DeCosta, general manager Ozzie Newsome said, "Not at this point."


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