Another Signal Rivera Could be Gone

With eight head coaching vacancies, Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was going to get a lot of attention. However, with Gregg Williams out of the picture, Rivera becomes an even more intriguing candidate to teams seeking a defensive minded head coach.

So much for the "where's Gregg going?" sweepstakes.

Redskins assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams, perhaps the hottest candidate for an NFL head coaching job, isn't going back home to his native Missouri, or to Houston, where he began his NFL career, or to Minnesota, where he would be reunited with former Washington cornerback Fred Smoot.

Williams signed a three-year contract extension worth $8 million on Tuesday to remain in charge of the Redskins' defense.

"It makes me very happy and it makes my family very happy," Williams said in an exclusive interview with Redskins TV. "My family loves living here. It was a unanimous decision by the family. I'm very loyal and respectful to (Redskins owner) Dan Snyder and (coach) Joe Gibbs for giving me this opportunity. It's been a great time in Washington and hopefully I can stay an awful long time. It's nice to see the respect Dan and Joe gave me in this new contract."

Williams, who coached Buffalo to a 17-31 record in three seasons from 2001-03 before assembling top 10 defenses with Washington the last two seasons, was thrilled to get the new deal done before the Redskins play their first postseason game since 1999 on Saturday at Tampa Bay.

"We've got to be focused on Tampa Bay and I'm glad to get this thing taken care of today," Williams said. "We've got to be locked on, ready to go, cued in to win this game. We can get this completely off the table right now and get focused when the players get back in here tomorrow."

Not that Williams, 47, doesn't want to be a head coach again.

"I want to be a head coach again," he said. "I think I'll have that opportunity again. I knew I had those opportunities this off-season. But that's not the most important thing. It's what am I doing, where is it at and who's it with? I really like what I'm doing. I really like where I'm at and I really, really, really like who it's with."

Down the road, Williams is interested in succeeding Gibbs, who's 65 and has three years left on his contract.

"When that time comes, that's a bridge that we'll cross when we get there," Williams said. "But the fact that I get a chance to coach side-by-side with the only Hall of Fame coach still coaching today is a tremendous opportunity for me and I'm very happy for that."

Along with Rivera, other candidates with a defensive background include Mike Singletary (assistant head coach/linebackers 49ers), Ted Cottrell (defensive coordinator Vikings) and Tim Lewis (defensive coordinator Giants).

Playoff Possibilities The Bears know they will play at 3:30 on either January 14 or 15. The date will be determined this weekend. If Tampa beats Washington then the Bears will host the Bucs on Jan. 14. If the Redskins pull the upset on the road, the Bears will host the winner of the Giants-Panthers matchup on Jan. 15.

Health Beat

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad is expected back at practice Wednesday and is expected to be 100 percent despite missing Sunday's regular-season finale with a tweaked calf. Muhammad said he would have played if the game mattered.

  • SS Mike Brown is expected to get two full weeks of practice and should be 100 percent after missing the final four games with a strained calf muscle. Brown said he wanted to play in the final two regular-season games and would have done so if he had to.

  • G Terrence Metcalf could miss the Bears' divisional-round playoff game with a sprained knee suffered in the third quarter of the season finale, when almost every other starter had long since retired to the sideline.

  • DE Adewale Ogunleye should not miss any practice time after sitting out Sunday's game as a precautionary measure after tweaking a hamstring late last week.

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