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49ers Continue Coaching Search

January 22, 2003|From Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers asked for permission Tuesday to interview three NFL coordinators -- including both of the Philadelphia Eagles' top assistants -- for their vacant head coaching position.

General Manager Terry Donahue requested permission to interview Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, along with New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.

The 49ers also will interview San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora Jr., the son of the former Indianapolis and New Orleans coach by the same name.

The position has been vacant since owner John York fired Steve Mariucci a week ago -- three days after the 49er season ended with a division championship and a loss in the second round of the playoffs.

"John has been very emphatic about not wanting a timetable," Donahue said. "We're just moving forward and finding the right person for this job."

Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp won't interview for the club's top job, but Donahue said Knapp recently signed a one-year contract extension.

Knapp, offensive line coach Pat Morris and quarterback coach Ted Tollner all will be back with San Francisco next season, Donahue said, because of their familiarity with the West Coast offense.

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Cincinnati Bengal Coach Marvin Lewis hired Leslie Frazier as the team's defensive coordinator. Frazier, Philadelphia's defensive back coach since 1999, replaces Mark Duffner, whose Bengal unit ranked last in the league by giving up 28.5 points per game.

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Jacksonville Jaguar Coach Jack Del Rio has his top three assistants in place. Del Rio hired former Dallas Cowboy player Bill Bates as special team coach, joining Mike Smith as defensive coordinator and Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator.

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New York Giant Coach Jim Fassel has hired Turk Schonert as his quarterback coach. Fassel was Stanford's offensive coordinator when Schonert led the nation in passing efficiency in 1979.... Rex Norris is stepping down as Chicago Bear defensive line coach to pursue other coaching opportunities.... Former Denver assistant Ron Milus was hired as defensive back coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

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Chris Draft signed a four-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, putting three of the team's four starting linebackers under contract.... Tennessee Titan kicker Joe Nedney won't need surgery after hyperextending his right knee during the AFC championship game.... Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre won't play in the Pro Bowl, but Packer wide receiver Donald Driver will make his debut. The Packers said Favre will not play because of his sprained ankle. Driver, a first alternate, will play in the Pro Bowl in place of Minnesota's Randy Moss, who has a sprained knee. Minnesota's Michael Bennett was added to the NFC's team, replacing Green Bay's Ahman Green, who won't play because of a knee injury.

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Former Cleveland Brown linebacker Eddie Johnson, who was known as "The Assassin" because of his hard tackles, died Tuesday night after a two-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43.

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