Work in Sports
Report: Haslett to get Saints job
Posted: Thursday February 03, 2000 09:47 AM
Before leaving on a flight to New Orleans Wednesday night, Haslett told the Steelers he had gotten the job and said his goodbyes at Three Rivers Stadium, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
No official word had come from either the Steelers or the Saints. The Saints issued a statement Wednesday evening saying only that the search had narrowed to Haslett and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
The Denver Post, meanwhile, quoted an unnamed NFL source as saying Kubiak would not likely get the job because he had sought a longer and more lucrative contract than Haslett.
And a Pittsburgh defensive player spoke of Haslett's possible departure as if it were a fait accompli.
"Reaction is sadness to see him go, considering that he has been a great asset to us and this organization," said Steelers defensive lineman Nolan Harrison. "But at the same time, I'm happy for him because any time a coach gets a chance to go on to the next level and try his luck as a head coach ... I think it's a great opportunity for him."
Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Art Shell, who had his second interview with the Saints on Tuesday evening, was dropped as a candidate.
Early in the day Kubiak was considered to be the leading candidate to replace Mike Ditka, who was fired Jan. 5.
By evening, reports were circulating that Haslett was telling others Steelers' staff that he was leaving to take the Saints job.
The defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh since 1997, Haslett was the Saints' defensive coordinator in 1996, the linebackers coach in 1995. When he was with the Saints, New Orleans improved from 22nd to 13th in total defense. The Steelers were 11th in total defense this season.
Haslett and the Saints new general manager, Randy Mueller, know each other well. When Mueller was vice president of football operations in Seattle, Haslett was a leading candidate to become head coach there before Mike Holmgren became available.
Haslett, 44, had been considered the front-runner for the job because of his long friendship with Mueller, but one NFL source said Benson had reservations about Haslett dating from his time with the Saints.
Kubiak, 38, interviewed twice with the Saints. He was the first of five candidates interviewed last week by assistant general manager Charles Bailey before Mueller's hiring Jan. 27.