2 in-house candidates would keep the other, if possible; 4th interview is scheduled today
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers could choose Russ Grimm or Ken Whisenhunt to become their next head coach and, not only would they keep most of their coaching staff intact, the candidate not selected could return as well.
Grimm and Whisenhunt have told people privately that they would return as a Steelers assistant coach if they are not chosen as the team's head coach and if they are not hired elsewhere as a head coach.
Thus, if Grimm is hired as the Steelers' head coach, he could have Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator -- with the possible additional title of assistant head coach, the same one Grimm has now as offensive line coach. And if Whisenhunt is promoted to Steelers head coach, Grimm could return in his same capacity.
Whisenhunt, who was interviewed by the Steelers yesterday, and Grimm, interviewed Monday, are the only members of the staff who are candidates for the job. The Steelers also interviewed Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. They will interview Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin today, perhaps the fourth and final candidate for the job. The club could name a head coach to succeed Bill Cowher before the end of the week.
"I was honored to have the opportunity and excited to be included in this group," Whisenhunt said yesterday after his three-hour interview with the Steelers.
Whisenhunt and Grimm also are candidates for the head-coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals, where Grimm interviewed yesterday. Whisenhunt also is a candidate in Miami.
"The organization, as I see it, is making all the right moves, and has one more to make," Grimm told the media in Arizona after his interview with the Cardinals. "We're still going to talk a little bit and take it from there."
Every assistant on the Steelers' coaching staff is under contract through the 2007 season. That means none can leave without the Steelers' permission unless it is to become a head coach elsewhere. Under previous NFL rules, a position coach could go to another team if it was for a promotion. The league has since abolished those rules; now an assistant can leave voluntarily only for three reasons: If his contract is up, if he receives permission from his team, or for a head-coaching job in the NFL.