Ravens lose out on leading candidate

Receivers coach Sullivan decides to join Dolphins

Pro Football

January 15, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

The Ravens lost their top candidate for receivers coach yesterday when Jerry Sullivan decided to accept the same position with the Miami Dolphins.

Ravens coach Brian Billick said he will conduct more interviews for that position and could fill it as early as the end of next week. But after missing out on Sullivan, who is considered one of the NFL's top receivers coaches, there is no guarantee of adding a new member to the offensive staff.

"I would anticipate doing it but that doesn't mean it's going to happen 100 percent," Billick said. "If the right guy doesn't present himself, I'm confident in the structure that we will have."

The Ravens are expected to announce Jeff FitzGerald as their new linebackers coach next week. FitzGerald has coached the Arizona Cardinals' linebackers for the past three seasons.

Since they already have Mike Singletary and Phil Zacharias working with linebackers, the Ravens will need to reshuffle their defensive staff. The addition of FitzGerald likely means a reassignment for Zacharias.

If the Ravens add a receivers coach, it would allow David Shaw to concentrate on quarterbacks. For the past two seasons, Shaw has coached the receivers and the quarterbacks.

The Ravens, though, had originally set their sights on Sullivan, the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals last season.

It was believed that Sullivan's first choice was the Ravens because of their stability at head coach. But returning to his hometown of Miami may have been an overriding factor in his decision.

"If I can't get the right guy, I'm not going to do it," Billick said of adding a receivers coach. "This was prompted more by a couple of guys being out there that I think can augment what we're doing. ... There are a couple of others that I will look at."

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