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  Updated: Thursday January 31, 2002 3:50 PM

SI's Don Banks on NFL head coaching rumblings

Tampa Bay -- Tampa finds itself in a mess of its own making after the Bill Parcells fiasco. So, where do the Bucs go from here?

On Wednesday, Bucs general manager Rich McKay interviewed Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, a former Tampa Bay assistant from the Sam Wyche era.

McKay also interviewed former San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Norv Turner on Wednesday evening. Turner opted out of his contract Tuesday and is mulling an offer to become offensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins. He would join friend and former Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Dave Wannstedt with the Dolphins.

McKay interviewed Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis on Tuesday.

There are no more known candidates being considered for the job.

However, there is still speculation about the Bucs possibly making a play for Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who is entering the final year of his contract in Oakland. It makes some sense, in that the Raiders could extract a high draft pick or two from the Bucs in exchange for Gruden's rights, rather than risk losing him next year when they'll get nothing in return.

And make no mistake, Gruden will not pass on the opportunity to become a free agent next year at this time.

While the move would allow the Bucs to come out of the Parcells mess smelling like a rose, there are indications that McKay isn't all that high on the notion of trading draft picks for Gruden. Tampa Bay needs its picks to retool on offense, so the decision will be a difficult one.

LSU's Nick Saban might also surface as a leading contender -- after the Feb. 6 national signing day for colleges. Parcells' agent, Jimmy Sexton, also represents Saban, and the Tigers head coach is believed to be still somewhat miffed that he did not emerge as a stronger possibility in Carolina, who hired John Fox.

Saban would cost the Bucs in the range of $3 million per season, but Tampa Bay was prepared to pay far more than that to Parcells. Other names worth mentioning would ex-Minnesota head coach Dennis Green and possibly even a longshot bid to lure Jimmy Johnson out of retirement.

Dennis Green -- According to sources close to Green, the former Vikings head coach is content to land a TV gig, (probably with CBS) do his fishing show and collect his $2.6 million in Vikings salary this year. But all of that would change if the 49ers or Raiders had an opening. Green is resigned to the reality that he's not going to be a factor in the San Diego search, which features the job he covets most.

If Tampa Bay should land Oakland head coach Jon Gruden, look for Green to quickly emerge as the leading contender to fill the Raiders' opening.

He and Oakland owner Al Davis are well-acquainted and have long had mutual respect for each other. In addition, Green is friends with Raiders vice president Bruce Allen. Oakland inquired about hiring Green away from Minnesota after the 1996 season, but were denied permission by then-Vikings chairman Roger Headrick.

Coaching Carousel
NFL teams that have changed head coaches this offseason
Team  Former  Seasons  Current 
Carolina  George Seifert  John Fox 
Indianapolis  Jim Mora  Tony Dungy 
Minnesota  Dennis Green  10  Mike Tice 
San Diego  Mike Riley  Marty Schottenheimer 
Tampa Bay  Tony Dungy  TBA 
Washington  Marty Schottenheimer  Steve Spurrier 
 
 


 
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