-- Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown was in Pittsburgh today to interview Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for the team's vacant head coaching job, though it appears that Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis and recently fired Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin will get the strongest consideration.
Lewis interviewed for the job Tuesday, and Coughlin met with owner Mike Brown on Friday. Coughlin's agent, Gary O'Hagan, said his client is definitely interested in the job, but indicated that Brown did not offer it to Coughlin in their discussions. Lewis also has indicated he was not offered the job, and sources said Brown will likely make a decision this coming week.
Coughlin is the only candidate interviewed with NFL head coaching experience, and his reputation as a taskmaster certainly will help his cause with a team that finished 2-14 last season. There has been speculation that Dallas Coach Bill Parcells might be interested in talking to Coughlin, who was one of his assistants during his Giants years, about joining his Cowboys staff.
Coughlin had full football authority in Jacksonville, power he would not be given in Cincinnati. Brown has essentially been general manager for the last dozen years, and said publicly last week he has no intention of hiring a GM, even though he has been urged to do so by some of his fellow owners and other NFL officials.
Coughlin's salary likely will not be an issue. His Jacksonville contract will pay him $2.4 million for each of the next two years. The Bengals, who paid former coach Dick LeBeau about $850,000 last season, could probably offer Coughlin in the range of $1.5 million a year in the first two seasons, with the Jaguars paying the difference for the next two seasons.
In Jacksonville, owner Wayne Weaver has said he will begin the interview process this coming week. Lewis is said to be on his preliminary list, but the Jaguars apparently have not yet asked the Redskins for permission to interview him. Washington team spokesman Karl Swanson said last week the team would grant permission, if asked.
Former Vikings coach Dennis Green has lobbied in recent weeks for the Jacksonville job, and is considered a strong candidate. Sources said today that Weaver's preliminary list includes Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, LSU Coach Nick Saban and Mularkey.
Maske reported from Washington.