Holmgren 'criteria' met here Packers coach's agent says Ravens fulfill his 3 requirements

'A marriage is possible'

Strong owner, facility, shot at full control cited

December 31, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The agent for Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren said yesterday that his client will have interest in several vacant jobs around the NFL, including the opening in Baltimore.

League rules prohibit teams from talking to players or personnel from other teams until their seasons are completed, but agent Bob Lamont said the Ravens would meet the three major requirements of Holmgren.

"Mike told me in August to look into and research teams that might want to acquire his service," Lamont said. "He said there were three requirements. One, that the team needed a strong owner committed to winning. Two, that he would have full control, and three, that the franchise had to have a modern stadium and practice facility.

"Wherever Mike falls, I think people realize he is going to win," Lamont said. "Obviously, Baltimore meets the criteria. They have a strong owner committed to winning. The potential is there to have control, and they have a state-of-the-art stadium."

Ravens officials also were working yesterday to schedule interviews with former San Francisco 49ers coach George Seifert and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

There is speculation that Seifert has little interest in the Ravens' job. Haslett reportedly visited the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday, while the Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks received permission from the Steelers to speak with Haslett as early as next week.

But Holmgren is considered the prize catch of the coaching candidates looking to fill seven NFL vacancies. Luring Holmgren, 50, away from Green Bay, though, could be expensive and might cause a shift of power in the Ravens' front office.

"There is no question that if the Ravens call during that window of opportunity and a marriage is possible, then we'll look into it," Lamont said. "He has got a great job where he is, and it would take a pretty wonderful offer."

Holmgren wants total control of an organization, which he doesn't have in Green Bay. He can only leave Green Bay if the offer includes a general manager's position or one with similar authority. The Packers' current general manager is Ron Wolf, 60, who may be close to retirement.

The Packers apparently want Holmgren to stay around long enough to assume both positions in their organization and recently offered him a four-year contract extension worth $3 million per season that doesn't have an escape clause.

Despite recent criticism about not having a general manager, Ravens owner Art Modell has given total control to previous coaches. Ozzie Newsome, Ravens vice president of player personnel, said Monday he had no problems working under a general manager.

Holmgren has an 84-41 record and is 1-1 in the Super Bowl during seven seasons with the Packers. He spent six years with the 49ers as an assistant. He is also a candidate for jobs in Seattle, Carolina and possibly San Francisco if the 49ers get rid of Steve Mariucci.

Holmgren, Haslett, Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham, Minnesota offensive coordinator Brian Billick and Jacksonville offensive coordinator Chris Palmer are top candidates for the Ravens' job.

Eagles defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas would become a serious candidate if the Ravens can't sign one of their top picks.

Haslett was almost assured the vacant head coaching position in Philadelphia, but the Eagles' interest dropped off two weeks ago when it became apparent that Dom Capers was going to be fired by the Panthers.

Capers and Haslett are former assistants who once worked under Tom Modrak, Eagles director of football operations, when all three were with the Steelers.

There is speculation that if Haslett gets the Carolina job, he might hire former Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis or Lewis could return to the Steelers to serve in the same capacity under Bill Cowher. Lewis also could end up in Philadelphia if Capers gets the job.

Lewis burned a few bridges Monday when he criticized Ravens officials for cutting "team leaders" Pepper Johnson, a middle linebacker, and safety Eric Turner during the Ravens' first year in Baltimore.

Lewis, though, was instrumental in both players' releases, especially after a confrontation with Turner during the 1996 season.

NOTE: Ted Marchibroda, who was fired as Ravens coach Monday, said yesterday he had received an exploratory phone call from another team, but would not go into detail. Marchibroda, 67, said he has yet to decide what he will do in the future.

Pub Date: 12/31/98

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