- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer put to rest any doubts about his power in the organization yesterday, firing player personnel director Vinny Cerrato.

Before the unexpected announcement, Cerrato appeared to have a safe if not specific place with the team. Team sources said when Schottenheimer was hired Jan. 4 that Cerrato received a guarantee from owner Dan Snyder that he would remain employed, even if Schottenheimer elected to bring in his own personnel director.

But Snyder's promise to hand over football operations to Schottenheimer apparently carried more weight.

"As we said from the outset, we're evaluating and analyzing all aspects of the organization," Schottenheimer said last night. "I just felt it was in our best interest to go in another direction."

Schottenheimer said he knew of no special arrangement for Cerrato and that Cerrato's fate always rested in his hands.

Adding to the surprise of the move was the fact that it took place almost three weeks after Schottenheimer's arrival, while the dismissal of assistant coaches wrapped up nearly two weeks ago. Cerrato scouted last week's college Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and planned to accompany Snyder to the Super Bowl tomorrow.

"The evaluation is an ongoing process," Schottenheimer said of the move's timing. "It was important that I get a chance to become a bit familiar with the way scouting is done here."

Pro scout Ron Nay will oversee the Redskins' participation in the April 21-22 draft. Nay has 29 years of NFL scouting experience, including the past four with the Redskins.

Schottenheimer disputed reports that Chicago Bears vice president of player personnel Mark Hatley will join the Redskins after the draft. Hatley spent nine seasons in the Kansas City Chiefs organization with Schottenheimer (1989-97), including five as personnel director, and some inside the Redskins organization still believe the move is likely.

"I would think there's not any [possibility of Hatley joining the Redskins]," Schottenheimer said. "All I know is that he's under contract [with the Bears]."

There is no current plan to hire a personnel director, Schottenheimer said, declining to say whether Nay would be considered for the post. Said Schottenheimer: "I don't see anything taking place until after the draft… . At this point we have no plans beyond the draft to be honest."

Cerrato departs the Redskins after 1 and 1/2 seasons of remarkable player acquisitions that, for better or worse, were attributed to Snyder rather than him. An analysis of last spring's draft, his only one with the team, will have to come in the next few seasons because none of the six picks after the first round have become regular contributors.

Meanwhile, the Redskins' search for a defensive coordinator, nearly wrapped up Monday, appears likely to stretch into next week.

Schottenheimer will interview his brother, Kurt Schottenheimer, today but has yet to schedule interviews with Vince Tobin or any other candidates. Marty Schottenheimer was not sure whether he would conduct any other interviews before leaving tomorrow for the Super Bowl.

Kurt Schottenheimer, scheduled to arrive in Washington late yesterday, appeared on his brother's list after Ted Cottrell, Buffalo's coordinator the past three seasons, accepted the New York Jets' offer Monday to become coordinator and assistant head coach.

Marty Schottenheimer's only official interview yesterday was with Cleveland offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

Kurt Schottenheimer, Kansas City's defensive coordinator the past two seasons, also is a candidate to coach a position for the Redskins, either defensive backs or linebackers, and to become Jets defensive backs coach.

Marty Schottenheimer also intends to contact former Buffalo coach Wade Phillips, who didn't seem interested when he spoke with Schottenheimer two weeks ago. Phillips, however, appears out of coaching possibilities and might be willing to interview for an assistant's job.

Note Running back Stephen Davis became the Redskins' fourth Pro Bowl participant when he was named to replace the injured Marshall Faulk. Davis, 26, will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance after ranking third in the NFC with 1,318 rushing yards and second with 11 rushing touchdowns.

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