Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye will take over the same position with the Washington Redskins today after an exhaustive interview yesterday that caused Raye to miss his plane.
Raye skipped his flight home last night to finalize the deal that reunites him with coach Marty Schottenheimer. While Schottenheimer said the deal wouldn’t be completed until today, Raye’s familiarity with Schottenheimer’s system was the clincher.
“It’s always easier to close a deal when you’re looking somebody in the eye,” Schottenheimer said. “The one thing, frankly, that I like is the things that he has done over the past eight years are the things I’m familiar with and believe in. Jimmy’s an excellent teacher, and that’s so important to me. He has an excellent ability to interact with players and a wealth of experience.”
This is the fifth NFL team for which Raye, 54, has served as offensive coordinator during a 24-year pro coaching career. He was in Kansas City for the past three years and spent the 1998 season working for Schottenheimer.
Washington is Raye’s eighth stop in the NFL, seventh as an assistant. He also coached for the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots.
Raye, a former Michigan State quarterback who played in the “Battle of the Century” against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl in 1966 before spending one season as a defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles, is known more for developing potent rushing attacks.
Running back Eric Dickerson gained an NFL-record 2,105 yards in 1984 under Raye. Running backs Marcus Allen, Kimble Anders and James Wilder also enjoyed strong seasons for Raye.
Schottenheimer previously interviewed former Cleveland coach Chris Palmer, former Cincinnati coach Bruce Coslet and former Buffalo offensive coordinator Joe Pendry for the opening.
Schottenheimer said he will focus next on an offensive line coach former Miami Dolphins coach Paul Boudreau interviews today. Schottenheimer also said his son, Brian, will become an assistant, but the elder Schottenheimer was unsure whether it would be receivers, tight ends or quarterbacks.
“I interviewed him the other night for 3 and 1/2 hours, and his mother wanted to know how he did,” Schottenheimer said jokingly. “I said, ‘My only concern is, based on what I heard tonight, I’m afraid he might take my job.’ ”
Hiring a defensive coordinator shouldn’t take nearly as long. Schottenheimer said he’s interested in former Arizona coach Vince Tobin.
“He’s certainly a candidate because I think he’s a very good football coach, and I’d be interested in talking with him because I really don’t have anybody,” Schottenheimer said. “There’s names, but nobody that I’m really locked into at this point.”
However, Schottenheimer said he won’t be pressured into making a quick decision just to avoid losing someone to another team.
“I’ve been referred to as stubborn,” he said, “but one of my greatest strengths is I have a plan and I stick to it, and one of my greatest weaknesses is I have a plan and I stick to it.”
Meanwhile, Redskins defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes met with Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. Rhodes is expected to take the Broncos job, though the Redskins first must drop their compensation demand of a third-round selection.
However, NFL sources said Minnesota also is interested in Rhodes after the Vikings’ 41-0 NFC championship loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. Schottenheimer said Minnesota hasn’t sought permission to talk to Rhodes, though Denver and Kansas City asked last week. Kansas City no longer is interested in Rhodes because it signed former Denver defensive coordinator Greg Robinson.