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NFL Jets' Cottrell believes 49ers are interested



Published: Mon, February 10, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defensive coordinator is one of three NFL assistants that San Francisco is evaluating.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Ted Cottrell believes the San Francisco 49ers are giving him a fair chance to be their next head coach -- and that's more than he can say about other NFL teams.

Cottrell, the New York Jets' defensive coordinator, toured the San Francisco Bay area and the 49ers' training complex this week before speaking with 49ers owner John York and dining with several members of the front office.

The visit was the second interview with the 49ers for Cottrell, a respected veteran assistant coach whose quest to run his own team has taken him to many interviews -- some of which he felt were over before they began.

"If a team talks to you, that doesn't mean it is an interview," Cottrell said.

"I've had seven talk to me, and four of them have been what I call legitimate interviews, and three of them have been bullcrap sessions. Excuse my language about that, but that is how I feel about it.

"Three of those teams had just talked to me, and there was no way I was a serious candidate and they had [no] thought in their mind of hiring me. I was just in there to probably fill in a time slot and make them look good. Four have been legitimate and three have been not worth a darn."

Cottrell, who is black, is one of three current candidates for the job that has been vacant since York fired Steve Mariucci on Jan. 15.

Other candidates

San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora got his second interview on Thursday, and Chicago defensive coordinator Greg Blache will visit the Bay area this weekend.

"I think [the 49ers] are going to choose the best coach, regardless of race," Cottrell said.

"You could be white, you could be purple. It doesn't matter. The best coach is going to get this job, who they feel can fit into this organization."

In addition to the three NFL finalists, general manager Terry Donahue also will consider college head coaches in the next several days, now that the deadline for national letters of intent has passed.

Cottrell, who also has been Buffalo's defensive coordinator, was among the first candidates contacted by Donahue nearly two weeks ago.

Cottrell signed a two-year contract extension with the Jets last Friday that will pay him nearly $600,000 over the next two years, but he still is keenly interested in the 49ers' job.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and Philadelphia coordinators Jim Johnson and Brad Childress all dropped out of consideration after getting contract extensions from their teams.




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