- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2002

MOBILE, Ala. Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier left Senior Bowl activities here yesterday apparently having conducted only one brief interview for the club's defensive coordinator vacancy.
That talk occurred with New York Jets secondary coach Bill Bradley on Tuesday night, Bradley said while attending a morning practice. Bradley added that he understood Spurrier's search to be wide open, even though former Redskins defensive coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer has appeared to be the front-runner since interviewing Friday at Redskin Park.
Schottenheimer, who was fired last week, led Washington's defense to the No. 10 ranking last season and, if he returns, the unit finally would enjoy some continuity. The Redskins have had three defensive coordinators in the past three seasons.
Bradley is the only confirmed candidate besides Schottenheimer. An NFL secondary coach for the past four years, Bradley spent 1985 in the USFL under current Redskins executive Pepper Rodgers.
Spurrier apparently also has interest in former Minnesota defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas, who was fired this month in the wake of Dennis Green's dismissal. Tennessee linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham, Kansas City's coordinator before becoming Chiefs coach in 1999, also is interested in the opening.
It was a bit surprising that Spurrier seemed to make so little movement on the coordinator front while in Mobile, where Senior Bowl activities are as much of a job fair as a scouting opportunity. The coach returned to Gainesville, Fla., in the afternoon and won't be back in Washington until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
The Redskins' other key opening is for a personnel director following the hiring of Joe Mendes as vice president of football operations Tuesday night. Former Redskins personnel director Vinny Cerrato appears to be the front-runner for that spot, but the club also has looked at former Green Bay vice president of personnel Ken Herock.
Schottenheimer apparently is leaning toward taking the Redskins' defensive coordinator post but still wants to see what happens with his brother, former Washington coach Marty Schottenheimer. Marty Schottenheimer appears to be the front-runner for the coaching position in San Diego and could become a candidate in Tampa Bay.
Agent Tom Condon said he met here Tuesday night with San Diego general manager John Butler and planned another meeting later yesterday. He confirmed that Schottenheimer has some qualms about moving to the West Coast but that they could be overcome. Talks at that point had not included a concrete offer, Condon said, but dealt more with the potential structure of the organization if Schottenheimer is hired.
Meanwhile, the Redskins signed free agent tight end Ivan Mercer, fullback Thad Buttone, offensive tackle Scott Harper, defensive end Ladairis Jackson and cornerback Chandler Smith yesterday. Mercer and Buttone were preseason cuts last year.
The Redskins seemingly have signed Montreal Alouettes cornerback Mark Washington, though a team official couldn't confirm it. The 1991 McNamara High School graduate spent the last five years with Montreal after playing for the Barcelona Dragons in 1997. Washington, 28, was released by the New York Giants during the 1996 preseason.
"I've put in some air miles going all over the world to play, and now I'm coming home," Washington said. "It will be surreal when walking into the locker room and putting on the uniform."
The Temple Hills native said cornerback Darrell Green was his favorite player when growing up as a Redskins fan. Washington (5-foot-9, 185 pounds) started the last three years with Montreal and was the CFL's defensive player of the month in September.
"As much as I would have loved to be in the NFL, the experience playing in Montreal was invaluable," Washington said. "When I was with the Giants I wasn't special. I was young and relied on physical ability. The mental aspects hadn't hit me yet. In Montreal, you really develop the work ethic."
Kick returner Michael Bates said he prefers to remain in Washington but was intrigued over possibly being taken by the Houston Texans in the expansion draft Feb. 18.
"It can be a win-win situation for me," he said. "If Houston grabs me, great. If not, I'll come back to Washington and let them see what I can do. If [the new coaching staff] doesn't like it, then there's 31 other teams to try out for."
Along with receiver Kevin Lockett, deep snapper Ethan Albright, guard Matt Campbell and defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach, Bates was placed on the unprotected list and probably will be taken. Bates and Campbell played for Houston coach Dom Capers in Carolina. Bates averaged 23.5 yards on kickoffs last season and was an outstanding cover player as the special teams captain.
The Redskins largely used an expansion list created by former coach Marty Schottenheimer before his Jan. 14 dismissal, with only Lockett added. NFL sources said Schottenheimer considered placing either defensive ends Marco Coleman or Bruce Smith on the list.

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