New York Daily News

Jets' Cottrell headed for another round of interviews with 49ers
February 05, 2003
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - Ted Cottrell moved one step closer on Tuesday to becoming the 49ers' new head coach.

The Jets' defensive coordinator was among three candidates invited back for a second round of interviews. Cottrell was scheduled to leave Tuesday night for San Francisco, where he will meet owner's representative John York. In the first interview, conducted last week outside Los Angeles, Cottrell huddled with 49ers GM Terry Donahue.

The 49ers' Jim Mora and the Bears' Greg Blache, both defensive coordinators, also were called back. Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was informed that he no longer is under consideration.

The 49ers have not set a timetable, but it's believed they would like to name a coach by the end of the weekend. No one has emerged as the frontrunner, although some in league circles believe Cottrell and Blache have inched ahead.

"The exciting thing, to me, is that this is one of the most worthwhile interviews I've had, the genuineness of the process," Cottrell said Tuesday from his office. "I'm very upbeat."

This is Cottrell's seventh shot at becoming a head coach. In some of the previous interviews, he felt like the designated minority candidate, and that bothered him. This time, he believes he has gotten a fair shot. Both Cottrell and Blache are African-Americans. Donahue, criticized for compiling a wish list devoid of marquee names, confirmed that he will "turn some of my attention to a limited number of viable candidates in (the college ranks)."

Donahue is waiting for the end of the college recruiting season. Today is the NCAA national-letter-of-intent day for high-school seniors.

If Cottrell lands the job, it's likely he will try to bring along secondary coach Bill Bradley as his defensive coordinator.

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