New face emerges in Ravens' pursuit

If Schottenheimer quits Chiefs, K.C. interest expected

Haslett to visit today

January 11, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' search for a new head coach promises to intensify quickly, starting with a visit today by Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, then continuing when the team interviews Jacksonville offensive coordinator Chris Palmer by midweek.

And the effort to replace Ted Marchibroda could get especially interesting if Kansas City Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer becomes available.

Schottenheimer, 55, coming off his first losing season since he took over in Kansas City in 1989, could resign this week, according to television reports yesterday. Chiefs president Carl Peterson did not return phone calls.

A league source said Schottenheimer would draw interest from the Ravens, should he quit the Chiefs.

The franchise has some memorable ties to Schottenheimer, who coached the Cleveland Browns to back-to-back appearances in the AFC championship game in 1986 and 1987. Schottenheimer, who coached as an assistant for five years in Cleveland before gaining his first head coaching job there in 1984, led the Browns to two AFC Central crowns.

The Browns let Schottenheimer go after he finished second in the division with a 10-6 record in 1988. Before this season, he had kept Kansas City among the league's upper echelon with nine consecutive winning seasons and seven playoff berths.

Kansas City, which lost to Denver in the AFC divisional playoffs a year ago, wound up the 1998 season with a 7-9 record. That marked Schottenheimer's first losing season as a head coach. Schottenheimer also came under criticism because of the team's lack of discipline. The Chiefs finished as the NFL's most penalized team.

With the exception of Dan Reeves, Schottenheimer owns more regular-season victories (145) than any other active coach.

David Modell, the Ravens' executive vice president, declined to comment regarding Schottenheimer, who remains under contract in Kansas City.

The Ravens, regrouping after losing a chance to sign former Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren -- now with Seattle -- will refocus their attention today on Haslett. Bad weather kept Haslett from coming here Friday, and he was expected to arrive in Baltimore last night.

According to a league source, Palmer and Minnesota offensive coordinator Brian Billick are high priorities of the Ravens. With the Vikings' playoff win yesterday, Billick is still off-limits, but the Ravens could interview Palmer as early as tomorrow.

Palmer, 49, has spent the past two seasons as the highly successful offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. Before that, he coached for four years in New England, the first three as a receivers coach.

As the team's quarterbacks coach in 1996, Palmer worked with Drew Bledsoe, who led the Patriots to the Super Bowl that season.

Pub Date: 1/11/99

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