Contra Costa Times

Mora continues sales job to 49ers brass, star players
February 07, 2003
Defensive coordinator has discussed philosophy with Garcia and Owens

By Cam Inman

SANTA CLARA - With his candidacy to become the next 49ers coach very much alive, 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora recently made his pitch to the team's playmakers. On Thursday, it was time to visit the deal makers.

One of three candidates conducting follow-up interviews this week for the 49ers coaching job, Mora talked Thursday with 49ers owner representative John York, as well as general manager Terry Donahue.

But before those chats, Mora prepped himself by expressing his football philosophy to quarterback Jeff Garcia and wide receiver Terrell Owens, both of whom accused the 49ers of lacking "killer instinct" during a 2002 season that was filled with fourth-quarter collapses. Mora said that after meeting with Owens before Owens left last week for the Pro Bowl, he talked Wednesday with Garcia, who's been critical of the 49ers' coaching search.

"I've talked to those guys and I've expressed to them what my feelings are as to where we would go as an offense, where we'd go as a football team," Mora, 41, said. "I feel very comfortable with those guys."

Garcia hasn't sounded as comfortable. Two days after Steve Mariucci's firing on Jan. 15, Garcia said on his KNBR radio show that he wasn't a "big fan" of the rumored coaching candidates. Garcia, speaking to the Associated Press on Saturday, called the 49ers' search "embarrassing."

Mora, the first candidate interviewed two weeks ago by Donahue, might have alleviated some Garcia's and Owens' concerns.

"We've got some tremendous weapons offensively here and you've got to get your playmakers the football," Mora said. "You've got to develop an attitude on your football team that says we're going to attack and we're going to be aggressive in all phases, not just offense, and we're going to go for the throat when we have people down."

Mora, the 49ers defensive coordinator the past four years, said he had "fun" talking to York on a personal level, rather than a professional one. "We talked about how we met our wives, our weddings and our children -- things that don't normally come up in the course of a game week," Mora said.

York met Wednesday with New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and is scheduled today to interview Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache.

NOTES: One potential candidate from the college ranks, Washington coach Rick Neuheisel, left Thursday for a ski vacation, according to the school's sports information director, Jim Daves. "When I talked to him this morning, he had not talked to Terry about the 49ers job," Daves said. "Rick said he's never talked to Terry about the 49ers' job." ... The 49ers have not sought permission to speak with LSU coach Nick Saban, a school spokesman said.

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