Seifert, Panthers agree to contract

Ravens never got meeting with ex-49ers head coach

Holmgren pursuit begins

January 04, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens are expected this week to interview several candidates to replace Ted Marchibroda as their head coach, and one of them will not be former San Francisco coach George Seifert.

And thanks to Seifert's former team, the Ravens can begin to pursue Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren. He is widely expected to leave the Packers, who were eliminated in the NFC's wild-card playoff round yesterday by the 49ers.

The Ravens already have contacted Holmgren's agent, Bob Lamont. The team will attempt to secure an interview with Holmgren soon.

Seifert ended his two-year hiatus away from the sidelineby agreeing to terms yesterday with the Carolina Panthers on a five-year contract reportedly worth in excess of $2 million per season.

The Ravens never got the chance to meet with Seifert, who quickly emerged as the Panthers' prime target a week ago. He will be introduced at a Carolina news conference this afternoon.

With Seifert officially out of the Baltimore picture, the Ravens are preparing to talk this week with Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and Philadelphia defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas. The team also is gathering more information on Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham.

Haslett could be in town to meet with Ravens officials as early as this evening. The Seattle Seahawks also are expected to interview Haslett this week. Haslett already has visited the Eagles.

"We could see two candidates, possibly three [this week]. We're lining up the interview processes," Ravens owner Art Modell said.

"We had a routine conversation with [Seifert last week]. We knew he was going to Carolina. I would love to have made a pitch for anybody who could give us the results that [Seifert] could. We wish him well."

Seifert won 108 games and two Super Bowls over eight seasons (1989-1996) in San Francisco.

Holmgren, 50, is considered the hottest property among the coaching candidates looking to fill six NFL vacancies. He figures to draw heavy interest from Seattle, which never entered into serious negotiations with Seifert.

Persuading Holmgren to leave Green Bay for Baltimore could be tough. Holmgren figures to be expensive -- he could command in the $3 million range -- and he has expressed interest in having more control over personnel decisions. That could cause a shift of power in the Ravens' front office.

The Ravens are watching the rest of the NFL playoffs anxiously. They are not allowed to interview anyone involved with a team still alive in the postseason. Two coaches who rank high on their shopping list include Jacksonville offensive coordinator Chris Palmer and Minnesota offensive coordinator Brian Billick.

Billick is believed to be an especially high priority for the Ravens.

"We've got a quality group of guys to look at, and we'll be pitching and taking our swings in a number of big innings," said David Modell, the team's executive vice president. "This is a critical time."

In other developments, former Ravens special teams coach Scott O'Brien reportedly has been scheduled for an interview with Carolina this week.

Pub Date: 1/04/99

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