By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Jim Mora withdrew his name from consideration for the Washington Redskins' vacant head coaching job yesterday, according to his agent, Bob Lamonte, one day after returning from a visit with owner Daniel Snyder. Mora's withdrawal leaves current assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams as the only known candidate with head coaching experience, with a number of league sources believing Williams is the top choice.
Mora is seen as the most likely choice to replace Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren should he retire, and he has strong ties to the Seattle area. Mora has a bond with Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato as well from their time together in the San Francisco organization, but pulled out of contention before the Redskins offered the job to anyone. Snyder is notorious for spending more for coaches and players than anyone else in the NFL and several club executives speculated that Mora's withdrawal was a sign he was not going to get the job.
Lamonte said that after Mora met with his family in Seattle, he decided he did not want to move his family again and uproot his young children from their friends and school.
"Jim had a wonderful meeting with the Redskins and he loved the organization and had nothing but good things to say about Dan Snyder," Lamonte said. "But at the end of the day family counts most and the idea of moving his family across the country for the third time in three years was just untenable."
Williams, Mora, Tennessee assistant Jim Schwartz and Indianapolis assistant Ron Meeks are the only verified candidates to interview with Snyder and Cerrato. Williams has support among coaches and players for the job, with the backing of former coach Joe Gibbs as well, according to sources, but the decision will be Snyder's. Gibbs is acting as a consultant but is not involved with the interviewing process. Snyder told associates he was going to take the day yesterday to decompress from a week of intense sessions with candidates -- often going 12 hours or more -- and mull over the options this weekend.
Meeks, the last person to interview with Snyder, said he enjoyed the experience. "I thought the interview went well," Meeks said. "I was very encouraged about the process and the chance to interview. We'll just see what happens."
Snyder could opt for another interview with some candidates next week, or introduce new names to the mix, but has told those who have already interviewed that he hoped to complete the search within a few weeks of Gibbs's retirement, with the Senior Bowl and NFL combine approaching.
A source who spoke to Cerrato recently said the cycle of interviews has left both men exhausted. Williams is the only candidate to have had multiple sessions with Snyder thus far, meeting with him four times. That is not unusual for Snyder, who spent roughly 16 hours meeting with Gibbs before hiring him. They spent the bulk of the time discussing details central to the job and ensuring they could interact well, then quickly hammered out a five-year, $25 million contract.