Ravens job may hinge on Kubiak

Palmer's status tied to Colorado opening

January 15, 1999|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has emerged as the front-running candidate for the head coaching position at the University of Colorado, a move that could have significant impact on the availability of Chris Palmer as one of the lead candidates for the Ravens' coaching job.

Palmer, the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator, interviewed for the Ravens' job Tuesday and was in strong consideration for the same position at Northwestern University if Northwestern coach Gary Barnett left for Colorado.

But according to a league source, Kubiak has replaced Barnett as the top candidate for the Colorado job even though Kubiak will not speak to Colorado officials until Monday, one day after Denver plays host to the New York Jets in the AFC championship game.

Kubiak was on the Ravens' top 10 list for candidates, but the club backed off after hearing that his "dream" job was coaching at Texas A&M, his alma mater, and that Kubiak was content being the No. 1 offensive assistant for Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

But the source also said Kubiak wanted the Colorado job because his family is familiar with the area -- Kubiak was the Broncos' backup quarterback from 1983 through 1991 -- and that Kubiak doesn't feel he is 100 percent ready to be an NFL head coach.

Neither Palmer nor Kubiak was available to comment last night.

The Ravens may have breathed a sigh of relief about the news on Kubiak because Palmer is one of the team's top two candidates along with Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Brian Billick.

Under NFL rules, the Ravens can't interview Billick until his team has completed its season, and the Vikings are favored to reach the Jan. 31 Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, Palmer is expected to interview with the Cleveland Browns today. Billick has interviewed once with the Browns, who as an expansion team are exempt from the rule that prohibits clubs from interviewing candidates whose teams are still playing.

The Browns also have met with Kubiak and Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Art Shell.

The Ravens have failed to comment on Billick but intend to interview him as soon as the Vikings' season ends. The Ravens have interviewed three candidates: Palmer, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

A team source said the Ravens don't plan to interview any other candidates until they speak with Billick. Palmer had a strong interview with the team, according to Ravens owner Art Modell.

Pub Date: 1/15/99

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