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Crennel out of 49ers' coaching mix, but college coaches in

Posted: Tuesday February 04, 2003 8:36 PM

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- New England Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was dropped Tuesday from the list of candidates for the San Francisco 49ers' head-coaching vacancy.

General manager Terry Donahue also plans to consider a handful of college head coaches for the job soon, he said in a statement. Donahue apparently waited to open the college portion of the 49ers' search until after Wednesday's recruiting deadline for national letters of intent.

Three NFL defensive coordinators remain in the prospects for a job that's been vacant for nearly three weeks since owner John York unexpectedly fired Steve Mariucci on Jan. 15. Mariucci was hired by Detroit earlier Tuesday.

New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and Chicago defensive coordinator Greg Blache have been invited to visit the San Francisco Bay area and the 49ers' training complex in the next few days. San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora is the third candidate.

"The addition of potential candidates from college football along with Greg, Ted and Jim will give us a deep and talented pool from which to choose our head coach," Donahue said.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress all used the 49ers' interest in them to earn contract extensions from their clubs.

Donahue, who hasn't been available for more than limited public comment in the last three weeks, also defended the 49ers' extremely deliberate strategy for selecting a head coach. He has interviewed the candidates at his home in Southern California, not at the 49ers' training complex in Santa Clara.

"We established a strategy and are proceeding as planned," Donahue said. "This has been a deliberate and lengthy process because not only have we been getting to know the coaches, but we have been talking to many highly respected football people around the league about our candidates.

"We have been and will continue to be thorough in our approach."

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