- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 12, 2002

The Washington Redskins are making another bid for former University of Florida coach Steve Spurrier before deciding the fate of coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Redskins officials, led by vice president Pepper Rodgers, traveled to Gainesville, Fla., yesterday to talk with Spurrier for the second time this week. Spurrier is still considered the front-runner for the job at Carolina and possibly one at Tampa Bay if the Bucs lose today at Philadelphia in the NFC playoffs. However, the Redskins are making one more push for Spurrier after two failed attempts over the past year. A Redskins official denied the team was meeting Spurrier.

Spurrier met with Carolina officials twice earlier this week and also has been linked to actual or possible openings in Tampa Bay, Atlanta and San Diego. Spurrier wants to wait two weeks to consider various offers. Snyder is trying to beat his competitors to Spurrier, who is expected to seek at least $5million annually. Spurrier rejected Snyder's offer of $3million with $3million in incentives last year before Schottenheimer was hired.

Several NFL coaches who might interest the Redskins could be fired after the playoffs' opening weekend. Oakland's Jon Gruden, San Francisco's Steve Mariucci and Tampa Bay's Tony Dungy reportedly will be in trouble should their teams lose. Dungy would be an unlikely hire because Snyder is looking for an offense-minded coach like Spurrier.

The shakeups leaguewide could force Spurrier to advance his timetable as teams compete for coaches. Tampa Bay reportedly will hire former New York Jets coach Bill Parcells if Spurrier isn't available.

Schottenheimer spent only two hours at Redskin Park yesterday, and Snyder never showed up. The two may meet tomorrow or Monday. Schottenheimer was supposed to leave on vacation today but said he was unsure of his schedule.

"I'm sure we'll have an opportunity [to meet] in the near term," Schottenheimer said. "I have no [other] comment and no information."

Snyder and Schottenheimer met three times in four days after the Redskins ended the season 8-8 but never discussed a buyout of the remaining three years of the coach's contract, worth $7.5million. Schottenheimer won't seek a settlement and accept less, according to team sources.

Instead, the two sides largely have discussed the role of a prospective general manager who would usurp Schottenheimer's complete control of football operations. Snyder seems intent on signing a general manager who will allow the owner to become more involved in daily operations after a one-year hiatus with Schottenheimer. Team sources said Schottenheimer surprised Snyder on Monday by agreeing to the hiring of a general manager. The owner seemed convinced Schottenheimer would balk and force his departure.

Former Washington general manager Bobby Beathard has talked with Snyder but is still undecided whether he would gain the needed authority over the roster. Beathard also wants to select the coaching staff, so Schottenheimer likely wouldn't stay should Beathard be hired.

Schottenheimer has resisted staff changes. Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and possibly quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer are under scrutiny by Snyder, who has forced staff changes in past years. Marty Schottenheimer has contractual control over his assistants and won't be forced into changes. Schottenheimer said he didn't foresee any personnel moves, but team sources said he would have considered it until the showdown with Snyder.

Most assistant coaches have left for vacation, though a few remain. Many expect to be fired in coming days, but Schottenheimer has told his assistants little of his negotiations with Snyder. Several already have started looking for jobs and taken personal possessions. Raye placed a filled trash bag in his car trunk recently and told friends he expects to be fired.

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