The next suitor for Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis could be the Detroit Lions.
Lewis probably would be among the Lions' head-coaching candidates if Detroit fires Marty Mornhinweg, NFL sources said yesterday, but it was not clear where Lewis would rank among the club's prospective candidates.
Two prominent former NFL coaches, Bill Parcells and Dennis Green, could be head-coaching candidates in Detroit if Lions owner William Clay Ford does not retain Mornhinweg, according to sources. But both would be likely to seek almost total control over the club's football operations, and Lewis's candidacy could be boosted if the Lions retain team president Matt Millen.
Ford apparently plans to decide next week whether to keep Millen and Mornhinweg, but sources said yesterday it seems increasingly likely that Millen will stay. Millen fired Bill Tobin as the team's executive director of player personnel yesterday, apparently with Ford's approval. Millen reportedly has lobbied Ford to keep Mornhinweg, who has a record of 5-26 with one game to go in his second season as the Lions' coach.
Lewis could be a strong candidate for the Lions if Millen stays because Lewis would be a first-time head coach and probably would not seek control over the team's personnel moves. Lewis recently passed up a chance to become the head coach at Michigan State University, saying he wanted to continue to pursue a head-coaching job in the NFL. His Redskins' defense ranks sixth in the NFL.
It is not certain that Ford will fire Mornhinweg despite the team's struggles, however. Ford has a reputation as one of the league's most patient owners. If they fire Mornhinweg, the Lions apparently also could be interested in Steve Mariucci if he does not remain with the San Francisco 49ers.
Some executives around the league believe that Lewis also could be a candidate for the Cincinnati Bengals' head-coaching job. The Redskins probably would give their defensive coordinator job to linebackers coach George Edwards or defensive line coach Ricky Hunley if Lewis leaves.