- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 2, 2008

PHOENIX — Steve Mariucci will end days of speculation about his interest in becoming Washington’s next coach by interviewing with Redskins owner Dan Snyder and executive vice president Vinny Cerrato here before Super Bowl XLII tomorrow.

The 52-year-old Mariucci was 75-71 in nine seasons as coach of the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, making the playoffs three times.

He has been an analyst for the NFL Network since the Lions fired him during the 2005 season.

Mariucci would follow Jim Schwartz, Gregg Williams, Ron Meeks and the current favorite — former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel — as candidates for the vacancy created by Joe Gibbs’ retirement on Jan. 8.

Coincidentally, Mariucci’s last playoff victory came against Fassel for the 49ers in 2002. It was also Fassel’s final playoff game.

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo could be interviewed next week.

Although the Redskins’ 25-day coaching search has been lampooned nationally, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took the opposite view yesterday.

“The process has been quite good, quite thorough,” Goodell said.

Goodell also called the murder of Redskins safety Sean Taylor in November “the lowlight of the season.”

And Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen said he had “a nice conversation” with Earnest Byner about coaching the Buccaneers’ running backs but wouldn’t say whether the team would hire him.

Byner filled that role with the Redskins the last four years, but his contract expired Thursday.

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