San JosŤ Mercury

Kiffin to remain with Bucs
January 31, 2003

By Dennis Georgatos
Mercury News

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin pulled his name from consideration for the 49ers' head-coaching job Thursday after signing an extension with the Super Bowl champions making him the highest-paid assistant in the NFL.

Kiffin called 49ers General Manager Terry Donahue to cancel today's scheduled job interview after his agent, Jimmy Sexton, and Tampa Bay General Manager Rich McKay reached agreement on a reported three-year, $5.1 million contract for the Bucs assistant.

``We all know he's a heck of a coach,'' 49ers spokesman Kirk Reynolds said. ``But his decision to stay with the Bucs is not a real big shocker. He said after the Super Bowl that he was happy where he was at, and both Rich McKay and Jon Gruden had said they were going to do everything they could to keep him. So when he called Terry and told him he's just more comfortable there at this time, it wasn't a big surprise to us.''

Kiffin, 62, had stamped himself as a pre-eminent candidate for the 49ers job as the architect of the league's toughest defense. The top-ranked unit during the regular season, Tampa Bay's defense put together a distinguished playoff run as well, holding the 49ers without a touchdown in a 31-6 second-round victory and shutting down the Raiders' No. 1-ranked offense Sunday in a 48-21 Super Bowl win.

Kiffin's withdrawal could mean the 49ers bring in another candidate. One coach mentioned as a possibility is Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache. The 49ers are believed to be in the process of seeking permission from the Bears to interview him.

Donahue has interviewed four other candidates: 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora, New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress and New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.

It's believed the 49ers hope to have a successor to the fired Steve Mariucci in place by the end of next week.

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