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Busy weekend

Donahoe drawing interest from at least four NFL teams

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Posted: Sunday January 16, 2000 11:15 PM

  Tom Donohoe One possible stop for Donohoe is Miami, where he has a good working relationship with new head coach Dave Wannstedt. AP

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Tom Donahoe, forced to resign Friday as the Pittsburgh Steelers' director of football operations, talked over the weekend to at least four NFL teams about possible front-office positions, according to NFL sources.

Donahoe has declined to talk to reporters since his resignation was accepted, but he has fielded numerous calls from NFL teams. Among those contacting him were the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins, and he also is expected to talk to the expansion Houston franchise.

Miami is seeking a general manager now that Jimmy Johnson has stepped down to make way for Dave Wannstedt to take over as coach. Donahoe interviewed Wannstedt for the Steelers' coaching job in 1992 before Bill Cowher was hired, and Donahoe is believed to have recommended Wannstedt to Steelers president Dan Rooney.

Donahoe, who had worked for the Steelers since 1986 before losing a power struggle with Cowher, also talked to the Saints several hours after the Steelers announced his resignation Friday night.

Houston apparently sought permission from the Steelers to talk to Donahoe even before he resigned, although former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly is believed to be the frontrunner there.

Donahoe became the third major front office figure in two years to leave the Steelers from the group that was largely responsible for assembling the teams that played in three AFC championship games in four years from 1994-97.

Former college scouting chief Tom Modrak left in 1998 to run the Philadelphia Eagles' football operations, though it is possible he might be interested in returning to Pittsburgh if he is offered the same job there. Modrak has an escape clause in his Philadelphia contract.

Former pro scouting chief Charlie Bailey left the Steelers last year to become the Saints' assistant general manager, and could be reunited with Donahoe if the Saints decide to hire Donahoe.

Modrak and Cowher had a good relationship when the two worked together, although Modrak's contact with Cowher during the season was limited because Modrak frequently was away on scouting trips.

Pittsburgh has already begun its search for Donahoe's successor, and Cowher will be involved. Cowher was expected to scout players at the Senior Bowl this week, but instead will stay behind in Pittsburgh to help interview candidates for Donahoe's vacated position.

Although Rooney said emphatically Friday that Cowher will not have more say in personnel matters, the fact that Cowher is sitting in on the interviews could be a sign that he will be more heavily involved in front office matters.

Cowher and Donahoe both offered to resign following a 6-10 season because they could no longer work together, but the Steelers turned down Cowher's offer and chose instead to accept Donahoe's resignation.

The Steelers had never had a director of football operations -- Rooney prefers not to have an executive with the title of general manager -- until Donahoe moved into the position in 1991.


 
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