Contra Costa Times

If Madden is right, Jaguars might get Mariucci
January 11, 2003
49ers notebook

TAMPA, Fla. -- Nearly a year after being wooed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 49ers coach Steve Mariucci soon might draw the attention of another Florida team -- the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to the Jacksonville Times-Union, Mariucci could be a candidate to take over the Jaguars, who've been without a coach and general manager since Tom Coughlin's dismissal last month.

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver told the Times-Union that the playoffs might affect his coaching search. Perhaps taking into account the league's tampering rules, Weaver downplayed the prospect of hiring Mariucci and told the Times-Union, "He already has a job."

ABC commentator John Madden said on his morning radio show on KCBS that he could see Mariucci leaving the 49ers after this season, even though his contract doesn't expire until after the 2003 campaign. Madden mentioned the Jaguars and Detroit Lions as teams that might be interested in Mariucci.

"It has to be about economics and it has to be about where he is in his salary and in his new contract. The 49ers don't want to pay him that, which would be a lot like Jon Gruden a year ago," Madden said. "I think Steve Mariucci is in the same position Jon Gruden was in a year ago, and I'd guess the same thing is probably going to happen."

The Raiders released Gruden from the final year of his contract so he could become the Buccaneers coach in February, doing so after Mariucci balked at the Buccaneers' offer. Mariucci is slated to make approximately $2.2 million next season, and 49ers owner representative John York said he'll wait until this season ends to discuss a contract extension.

"If they're not going to sign him after next year, then he'd be out there for everyone," Madden said. "He'd be out there and the 49ers couldn't get anything for him."

The Raiders received four draft picks and $8 million in exchange for letting Gruden out of his contract, and Madden said he expects a similar scenario to be played out with Mariucci if the 49ers don't offer him a lucrative extension.

"I haven't talked to John Madden and I don't know if Steve has," York told the San Jose Mercury News. "Steve and I've both agreed we'd talk after the season and nothing has changed."

Mariucci wasn't available for comment Friday but said Thursday: "Right now, I'm concentrating on this year's team and that's never going to change, whether I have a long-term deal or not."

Former Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green on Friday withdrew himself from consideration for the Jaguars' post, as did Oklahoma's Bob Stoops on Thursday, the Jaguars announced.

DeBartolo speaks

One of Tampa's most prominent residents won't be anywhere near Sunday's divisional playoff game between the 49ers and Buccaneers. His name: Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who told the Tampa Tribune he will be at his ranch in Montana. DeBartolo sold his share of the 49ers to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, in 2000, in the midst of a family feud that appears to be cooling. "I don't want to be anywhere within 100 miles of Tampa this weekend. I'll watch it, but my loyalties are really torn," DeBartolo told the Tribune. "Denise invited me to sit in the box with her Sunday. I told her thanks, but no." As for whether he'd consider becoming an NFL owner again, DeBartolo said: "I'm too old to get back into it. I'm 56, going on 80. Football has changed so much since I've been gone. Like Joe Montana told me, 'Football is in our rear-view mirror.' I'm happy doing what I'm doing, but you never say never. If an NFL opportunity arose, I'd have to first sit down with my family."

Extra points

Center Jeremy Newberry, left tackle Derrick Deese and right guard Ron Stone all practiced, after resting Thursday with sprained left ankles. ... Cornerbacks Jason Webster (left ankle) and Ahmed Plummer (right Achilles) and safety Zack Bronson (left foot) did not practice. ... What did 49ers wide receiver Tai Streets do with the ball he caught for the winning touchdown in Sunday's comeback victory over the New York Giants? He said he gave it to his father, who attended the game and, incidentally, plans to make it to the 49ers' remaining games.

-- Cam Inman

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