M. Lewis denies Buccaneers are set to name him coach

`I do not have the job'

Nolan likely to take over defense if Lewis leaves

Pro Football

Notebook

February 03, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Marvin Lewis denied published reports that claim the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are close to naming him their head coach.

The Ravens' defensive coordinator is believed to be the first candidate to interview for the Buccaneers' vacancy and remains high on their list. Tampa Bay has also talked with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

But Lewis said any speculation that the sides will begin negotiations this weekend is false.

"I do not have the job," Lewis said yesterday.

If Lewis gets the Buccaneers' job, league sources said, the Ravens are expected to name Mike Nolan as their defensive coordinator.

Nolan, a Baltimore native who finished his first season as the team's receivers coach, was a defensive coordinator from 1993 to 2000 with the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and New York Jets. In 2000, he rebounded from some rocky seasons with the Redskins to direct a Jets defense that was tied for 10th in total defense and sixth against the pass.

Ravens coach Brian Billick declined to speculate on any possible moves but said he would name a replacement quickly.

"I've already got everything in place," Billick said.

Lewis talked with the Buccaneers on Tuesday, meeting for five hours in Atlanta. Considered one of the most respected coordinators, he was a finalist for the Carolina Panthers' opening last week, losing out to Giants defensive coordinator John Fox.

Tampa Bay fired coach Tony Dungy on Jan. 14, and general manager Rich McKay has refused to comment about the search.

Sale of Falcons approved

NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Atlanta Falcons to Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, who immediately said Dan Reeves would remain as coach.

Blank needed 24 votes to make the purchase official.

Reeves also confirmed earlier reports that former NFL head coach Wade Phillips would join the Falcons as defensive coordinator.

Blank, paying $545 million for the Falcons, said Reeves' contract would be extended by three years. The deal reportedly is worth between $7.5 million and $10 million.

Reeves, also an executive vice president, will see his focus shift more to coaching, Blank said, while he and Reeves recruit a new general manager.

Redskins eyeing Brunell?

The Redskins likely will explore the possibility of trying to acquire quarterback Mark Brunell from the Jacksonville Jaguars this off-season, NFL sources told The Washington Post.

Brunell joins demoted New England Patriots starter Drew Bledsoe among the high-profile quarterbacks that the Redskins could attempt to land during the off-season.

Saints shopping R. Williams

Miami vice president of football operations and player personnel Rick Spielman confirmed that the New Orleans Saints approached the Dolphins last week to gauge how interested they would be in trading for running back Ricky Williams.

"I told him we'd get back to him if we were interested," Spielman said.

Bad advice

At least 78 NFL players were defrauded of a total of $42 million by their financial advisers since 1999, the players association estimates.

In a story appearing on newsstands tomorrow, U.S. News & World Report publishes its investigation of more than 20 investment deals involving current and former NFL players.

D. Russell remains in jail

Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Darrell Russell remained in jail on $1.2 million bail a day after he was arrested with two other men on suspicion of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman.

Russell will face seven counts of rape, Alameda (Calif.) Police Lt. Jim Brock said.

It's official

The NFL chose Bernie Kukar, an 18-year official, to head the seven-man officiating crew for the Super Bowl.

Kukar also refereed the game three years ago.

Celebrity Super Bowl picks

Among the celebrity picks on ESPN.com:

Michael Phelps, world-record-holding swimmer from Towson: "Rams, without a doubt. Their offense is just too strong. I don't think the Patriots have a chance. 24-14."

Eddie Murray, former Orioles coach and star: "Rams, because they have an awful lot of speed on both sides of the ball and because they're playing on artificial turf. The Superdome is almost like a home game for them."

Sun columnist Mike Preston and wire reports contributed to this article.

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