Grimm set to meet with owners today
He's one of two Pittsburgh assistants who will be interviewed.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Assistant head coach Russ Grimm is scheduled to interview today as the Pittsburgh Steelers, seeking a head coach for only the third time in 38 years, hold the first of two meetings in two days with members of former coach Bill Cowher's staff.
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, coming off a whirlwind tour in which he interviewed with three teams in three days beginning Thursday, is set to talk to his own team Tuesday. Whisenhunt was believed to be the Oakland Raiders' top choice last year before pulling his name out of consideration.
Whisenhunt met with his hometown Atlanta Falcons on Thursday and with the Miami Dolphins on Saturday.
Talked with Rivera Sunday
The Steelers were to talk Sunday in Chicago with Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who also interviewed with the Falcons, Cardinals and Dolphins during his team's bye week. The Steelers cannot hire an assistant from any playoff team until that team is eliminated or wins the Super Bowl.
Also on the Steelers' list is Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who was given permission Saturday to interview with them. Tomlin was hired by the Vikings last year after previously coaching the defensive backs in Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.
Steelers owner Dan Rooney, president Art Rooney II and director of football operations Kevin Colbert will take part in the interviews, with Dan Rooney and his son having the final call. Dan Rooney's other two choices couldn't have worked out much better: Chuck Noll in 1969 and Cowher in 1992. Noll won four Super Bowls and Cowher won another last season.
That 1992 Steelers search took nearly a month, with Noll retiring on Dec. 26 and Cowher not hired until Jan. 21. With so many other teams currently looking for coaches, this search isn't likely to take as long unless the Steelers decide to hire an assistant with a playoff team.
Grimm and Whisenhunt are the only two Steelers assistants expected to interview with them.
Of all the candidates, Grimm's tough-guy makeup might best match Art Rooney II's description of an ideal coach. A former star lineman with the three-time Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins, Grimm -- also the offensive line coach -- and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau might be the most respected of Cowher's assistants by the Steelers players.
"You want a personality that, No. 1, is somebody that you feel can deal with the players and get their attention," Rooney said. "Having a proven track record in that regard is an important personality trait."
Slightly behind others
The Steelers are a few days behind the Cardinals and Falcons, who changed coaches last Monday. They could find themselves facing a difficult decision if, for example, one of the other five teams looking for a coach is ready to hire Whisenhunt or Grimm and the Steelers are not.
"We have to go through our process and if something happens and we can't move that quickly, we'll just have to live with that," Art Rooney II said. "As time goes on, that may become more relevant."
The Steelers have not said if they will interview any college coaches, although Art Rooney all but said NFL experience is a necessity. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, who grew up in suburban Pittsburgh, would be a candidate if they do talk to a college coach.
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