Cowboys keep them guessing about coach Seifert, Packers' Lewis, Kubiak, Billick in running

Rumor central

January 23, 1998|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- Heard at the Super Bowl:

Jerry Jones' team isn't at the Super Bowl, but the Dallas Cowboys' owner is still stealing the spotlight with his high-profile coaching search.

Even though he spent three hours interviewing former San Francisco 49ers coach George Seifert yesterday, he said he'll wait until after the Super Bowl to make a final decision and will interview the two Super Bowl offensive coordinators -- Sherman Lewis of Green Bay and Gary Kubiak of Denver.

Kubiak isn't considered a serious candidate because of his youth and experience, but Jones insists he's giving Lewis more than a token interview.

When Jon Gruden was hired by Oakland yesterday, he was the 14th head coach the league has hired the last two years. None has been a minority and Lewis hasn't been interviewed for any of them.

Lewis' snub has been one of the major topics of the Super Bowl, but Jones insists that isn't the reason he's getting the interview.

The word on the coaching grapevine is that it's now up to Lewis to sell himself to Jones. What makes Lewis attractive to Jones is that he's an offensive- minded coach so Jones could probably keep his defensive staff intact. If he hires Seifert, a defensive specialist, he would probably want to bring in his own defensive staff.

On the other hand, if he does hire Seifert, he probably has a new offensive coordinator waiting in the wings in Brian Billick, who resigned as the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator because of uncertain ownership situation.

The speculation is that Jones plans to hire him, but Jones has been careful not to show any public interest in Billick. Even though Billick resigned, he can't jump to another team as long as he remains under contract to the Vikings. If Jones wants Billick, though, he'll probably find a way.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks are expected to call the Green Bay Packers after the game.

It's still uncertain what they will talk to the Packers about. They'd like to get general manager Ron Wolf. But Wolf may not want to go to Seattle because it would be a lateral move.

By contrast, coach Mike Holmgren is all but carrying a sandwich board announcing he wants to be a coach and general manager.

Both Holmgren and Wolf are under contract, but team president Bob Harlan doesn't seem to want to force them to stay.

It doesn't seem to make sense for Holmgren to depart when he's got a team that probably isn't done going to Super Bowls. But Bill Walsh did it in San Francisco after the 1988 season and Jimmy Johnson did it in Dallas after the 1993 season. Both times, the problem was a rift with the ownership.

That's not a problem this time because the Packers don't have an owner. But the rage in coaching these days is total control and Holmgren seems eager to have one of those jobs. If the Seahawks can't get Wolf, they may decide to give Holmgren that control.

Pub Date: 1/23/98

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