Dallas' Garrett in town for second interview

Assistant could be named new coach as soon as today

Ravens coaching search

January 15, 2008|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett took a major step toward becoming the Ravens' next head coach, flying to Baltimore last night to interview with team officials for a second time, two league sources said.

If the meeting is a success, there is a chance Garrett could be named the third coach in Ravens history as early as today, one source said.

Garrett has long been considered the front-runner to land the job with the Ravens, who fired Brian Billick on Dec. 31.

The source said the Ravens are ready to interview another candidate, most likely Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh, if it doesn't work out with Garrett.

Garrett's agent did not respond to e-mails sent by The Sun.

According to ESPN.com, Garrett also has a second interview with the Atlanta Falcons and could fly out of Baltimore this morning.

If the Ravens want Garrett, they likely would try to strike a deal with him before he leaves. As of early last night, the Ravens had not begun contract negotiations with Garrett.

The hiring of Garrett could be seen as a risk because he has been coaching in the NFL for only three seasons.

But before taking over the Ravens, owner Steve Bisciotti prided himself on building a successful business by banking on young and hungry people. Garrett, 41, would be in that same mold and would be a coach Bisciotti could build a team around for years.

A 12-year backup quarterback in the NFL, Garrett was the quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins for two seasons before becoming the Cowboys' offensive coordinator this season.

Dallas finished No. 3 in the NFL in total offense this season but faded down the stretch. In the final four games (including a playoff loss to the New York Giants), the Cowboys averaged 12.3 points.

The Ravens met with Garrett on Jan. 5 for several hours, but NFL rules prevented the Ravens from speaking to him again until Dallas' season was over.

When the Cowboys flopped in the playoffs Sunday, there was immediate speculation the Ravens would pursue Garrett. He spent most of yesterday attending the Cowboys' end-of-the-season meetings.

There is a chance the Cowboys could still try to keep Garrett.

Before the playoff loss, Dallas owner Jerry Jones said of Garrett: "I respect his abilities as a coach. I'm impressed with the success of his guidance relative to our offense. When you say I went to great lengths to get him, I did, but I didn't give up the Cowboys to get him. Everything is relative. What to do to keep him? I'd work hard, but there are some things I can't control."

Garrett has ties with the Ravens. His father, Jim, was a Cleveland Browns assistant who coached Pat Moriarty, a running back who is now the Ravens' vice president of football administration. Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' general manager, was the tight end on that same Cleveland team.

Garrett also has a connection with some of the players. He is represented by David Dunn, the agent for linebacker Ray Lewis and tight end Todd Heap.

By talking to Garrett, the Ravens ended five straight days of not interviewing candidates.

The other assistants to interview for the Ravens' job were Dallas assistant head coach Tony Sparano, New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell.

Meanwhile, a source said recently dismissed Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan will interview for a second time with the Falcons and could meet with team officials as early as today.

Ryan is expected to be a strong candidate for that vacancy.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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