Mariucci headed Gruden's way?
January 11, 2003
49ERS COULD LET COACH GO, MADDEN SAYS
By Dennis Georgatos
Coach Steve Mariucci is not long for the 49ers, in the opinion of ``Monday Night Football'' analyst John Madden.
Speaking on his show Friday on KCBS-AM (740), Madden said if Mariucci and team director John York fail to come to terms on a contract extension after this season, the 49ers could decide to let him go to another NFL team in return for compensation.
``It has to be about economics, and it has to be where he is with his salary and where he would have to be with his new contract, and the 49ers don't want to pay him,'' Madden said. ``Which would be a lot like where Jon Gruden and the Raiders were a year ago. . . . And I would guess the same thing is going to happen.''
Gruden left the Raiders for Tampa Bay last February after the Buccaneers agreed to give the Raiders two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million for his rights. Tampa Bay worked the deal for Gruden after failing to woo Mariucci, whose 49ers play the Buccaneers in a divisional playoff game Sunday.
``I don't know where that came from. Don't even go there,'' Mariucci said when told about Madden's remarks before boarding the team's charter flight to Tampa.
York said Madden didn't hear anything from him, and he still plans to work out an extension with Mariucci at season's end.
``I haven't talked to John Madden,'' York said. ``There's nothing going on. Steve and I have both agreed we would talk after the season, and nothing has changed.''
York has remained steadfast on not negotiating until the end of the season, despite the 49ers' first-round playoff victory and the difficulty the team could face in keeping its coaching staff together if the Mariucci talks become prolonged.
Eight of 17 assistants, including offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, could leave when their contracts expire in less than a month.
York has said the assistants were all offered extensions last year, and all declined them.
A source said most of the assistants rejected the offers because they contained little or no provisions for pay raises.
Mariucci, who is making just under $2 million this season, is under contract through next season. But it's unlikely he would remain as coach for a ``lame-duck'' season.
Madden speculated that Mariucci could wind up as the Jacksonville Jaguars' coach, or possibly in Detroit, if ownership changes its mind about retaining Marty Mornhinweg.
Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has been quoted as saying the playoffs could affect his search to replace the fired Tom Coughlin. The pool of potential candidates for the opening dropped by one Friday, when Dennis Green withdrew. Asked about Mariucci, Weaver replied, ``He already has a job.''
So did Gruden.
For the first time this week, the 49ers' starting offensive linemen practiced together.
Center Jeremy Newberry, left tackle Derrick Deese and right guard Ron Stone, recovering from sprained left ankles, joined the team's last Bay Area workout before Sunday's game.
Mariucci said he was encouraged.
``They got some work in and I didn't know if they would before the game,'' he said.
Wide receiver Terrell Owens and cornerback Ahmed Plummer sat out because of groin injuries, but both will play against the Buccaneers, Mariucci said.
Cornerback Jason Webster, who did not play against the New York Giants last weekend because of a left-ankle sprain, has not been able to practice this week. He remains questionable for Sunday's game.
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