Denver summit puts Reeves on the top of Giants' coaching hill

January 21, 1993|By Dom Amore | Dom Amore,The Hartford Courant

New York Giants general manager George Young returned t his office yesterday after a Denver summit with former Broncos coach Dan Reeves.

And it appears Reeves will be offered the chance to coach the Giants. Possibly today.

Young, who met with Reeves for four hours Tuesday, updated owners Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch yesterday and began to work on details.

"They've got to dot the I's and cross the T's [on a contract offer]," Giants spokesman Ed Croke said. "That's going to take a little time."

Reeves could not be reached. Young, from his office at Giants Stadium, said: "I haven't got time for the media today."

Assuming their interview Tuesday went well -- and it probably would not have lasted four hours if it hadn't -- Reeves will quickly accept a Giants' offer. He called Young Jan. 7 to express interest in the job.

Reeves, 49, made $950,000 at Denver last season, but has said he would be willing to coach for less than that. Ray Handley, who was fired as Giants coach Dec. 30, earned $450,000 last season and will get $500,000 from the Giants in 1993.

The Giants first pursued Boston College coach Tom Coughlin, who chose to stay put, and then Dallas defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, who was hired by Chicago.

Enter Reeves.

Power, not money, was the biggest obstacle for Young and Reeves. At Denver, Reeves also held the title of vice president and made all player personnel decisions. Reeves was fired Dec. 28, the day after finishing 8-8 his 12th season, as Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he wanted to take a more hands-on approach.

So it seemed unlikely that Reeves and Young could work together. Young has controlled the Giants' drafting and trading strategy since 1979, while his coaches, Ray Perkins (1979-82), -- Bill Parcells (1983-90) and Handley (1991-92) were limited to coaching.

But in applying for the Giants' job, Reeves made it known that he could be happy with such a role. Young has always thought highly of Reeves, who at age 35 finished second to Perkins when the Giants needed a coach in 1979.

In 12 seasons with Denver, Reeves was 110-73-1, winning five AFC West championships and appearing in three Super Bowls.

"I enjoyed playing for Dan, and I think most of the guys on this team did," said Dave Widell, a Broncos offensive lineman. "I always thought Dan was a players' coach."

Widell, who played for Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson in Dallas before being traded to Denver in 1990, anticipates Reeves having success in gaining respect from the Giants' veteran players, and in handling the pressures of New York.

"Dan's life was in a fishbowl in Denver," Widell said. "The two biggest personalities in this town were John Elway and Dan -- and Dan handled that just fine. But I know that kind of pressure is negated if you win."

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