Darrell Bevell said Wednesday that his interest in pursuing coaching jobs around the league earlier this month wasn’t as important to him as preparing the Seattle Seahawks during the postseason.
Bevell, the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator, was the first candidate to interview for the Washington Redskins’ vacancy when he met with general manager Bruce Allen on Jan. 1. According to league rules governing candidates on teams with a first-round playoff bye, Allen had to meet with Bevell in Seattle that week.
The Redskins eventually hired former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to be their coach on Jan. 9. He replaced Mike Shanahan, who was fired on Dec. 30 after four seasons.
Had the Redskins wanted to hire Bevell, or any other assistant coach on either the Seahawks or the Denver Broncos, they would have had to wait to do so until after the teams played in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
When asked if that was fair, Bevell demurred.
“I don’t know if it’s fair or not,” Bevell told reporters at the Westin Jersey City. “It is what it is. It’s what we’re working with, so we just go with it. I couldn’t be more excited to be here. It’s a great opportunity and a great experience.”
Bevell told Seattle-based reporters earlier this month that he interviewed for two openings, though the identity of the second team has not been revealed. He was reportedly a candidate for coaching jobs with the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans, in addition to the Redskins.
“The one week where we got to interview, we were off that week, so we were able to do [it] that one day, but our focus was really on this game and getting here,” Bevell said Wednesday. “In the playoffs – I think it was right before the Saints game – there was a little bit of time to take a breather, but we’re really focused on our jobs and what we do and trying to do that the best that we can.”
San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy said earlier this month that he would permit his offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, and his defensive coordinator, John Pagano, to interview for openings during the postseason if they came up.
His reasoning, he explained, was that as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator last year, he would not have been hired by the Chargers had he needed to wait until Denver’s postseason was over.
Whisenhunt was hired by the Titans to be their next coach on Jan. 13 after just one season in San Diego.
Current Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase was linked to the Browns’ opening, but he reportedly told the team he would not interview to be their coach until after Denver’s playoff run was complete. Then, on Jan. 21, he withdrew from consideration, and the Brown became the last of the eight teams to hire a new coach when they named Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to that role on Jan. 23.
“My decision was strictly because we went to the playoffs,” Gase told reporters on Wednesday. “I would have been hard for me to change gears that fast, especially once we beat San Diego [in the divisional round]. It’s hard to go to an organization and get what you want as quickly as you have to. After this game, we’re like two weeks out from the combine. The turnaround is going to be unbelievable.”