San JosŤ Mercury

Eagles assistant out of running for 49ers job
 
 
February 01, 2003
 
FIELD OF KNOWN CANDIDATES REDUCED TO 3

By Dennis Georgatos
Mercury News

Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress is no longer under consideration for the 49ers' head-coaching job, reducing the field of known candidates to defensive coordinators Jim Mora, Romeo Crennel and Ted Cottrell.

``I called Brad Childress to inform him we are going in a different direction,'' said 49ers General Manager Terry Donahue, who is overseeing the search with input from team director John York. ``I thanked him for his time and effort. He's an excellent football coach and I enjoyed getting to know him, but we are focusing on other candidates.''

The 49ers said Childress fell out of contention for the job, which has been open since Steve Mariucci was fired Jan. 15; the Eagles indicated the withdrawal was initiated by Childress, who signed a three-year extension believed to be worth about $2 million. That would make him one of the NFL's highest-paid offensive coordinators.

``Brad pulled out of consideration this morning from the San Francisco job and he's very happy to be staying in Philadelphia,'' Eagles Coach Andy Reid said from Honolulu, where he and his staff are coaching the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl.

Childress' extension was worked out Thursday night, a source said.

Although the 49ers' search has yet to determine a successor to Mariucci, who is a leading candidate for the Detroit coaching job, it has raised the bar for the pay of top assistants. Tampa Bay's Monte Kiffin (three years, $5.1 million) and Philadelphia's Jim Johnson (four years, $4 million) became the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the league after withdrawing their names from consideration and signing new deals with their clubs.

Conversely, money could be a factor in the 49ers' lack of high-profile applicants as well as the three assistants dropping out of contention.

The 49ers have been offering a starting annual salary of about $1.2 million, a source said. That would represent a significant raise for New England's Crennel, the New York Jets' Cottrell and the 49ers' Mora, all of whom would be first-time head coaches. But an established coach such as Dennis Green, who was mentioned as a potential replacement for Mariucci but hasn't been interviewed, would probably expect at least twice as much.

Mariucci was due $2.25 million in the last year of his contract. And although York and Donahue have cited philosophical differences and Mariucci's continued desire for greater authority as reasons for his firing, another source said finances also figured into his dismissal. The source said Mariucci's agent, Gary O'Hagan, indicated he would seek an extension worth between $5 million and $6 million annually, and that York was unwilling to pay that amount.

There have been rumors of a mystery candidate. Chicago defensive coordinator Greg Blache's name has come up, but a team spokesman said Friday that the 49ers haven't asked for permission to interview Blache. University of Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel, who was coached by Donahue at UCLA, also has been mentioned, but Athletic Director Barbara Hedges said the 49ers haven't contacted the school.


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