Mariucci Begins Talks

Steve Mariucci (above with former assistant Jim Mora Jr.) is in the early stages of building his coaching staff. Already, 49ers' OL coach Patrick Morris is ready to join the Lions in the same capacity. Many more moves will come after head coaching shakeout across NFL completes. Possibilities to fill positions include Dick Jauron, Dick Lebeau, Dave McGinnis, Charlie Sanders and more.

(ALLEN PARK) - It is nearly a done deal. San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach Pat Morris will be re-joining his old boss Steve Mariucci in Detroit in about two weeks when his contract expires.

Morris' contract with the 49ers runs through the end of the month and he has already rejected an initial proposal by San Francisco to re-up for another season.

"We hope he stays," said San Francisco head coach Dennis Erickson who could also lose offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who is working on a one-year extension to Detroit. We're trying to re-sign him,'' Erickson admitted.

Knapp is interviewing for the vacant head coaching job with the Oakland Raiders and it is not out of the realm of possibility that he could get the job. Oakland managing general partner Al Davis is fond of taking virtual unknown assistant coaches and making them first time head coaches. San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora, Jr., one of the rising stars in the coaching business, is expected to get a head coaching job in either Oakland, Atlanta or Chicago.

Lions' defensive coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer is also likely gone. Schottenheimer was told he could begin looking for work and is expected to land with his brother, Marty, in San Diego if he isn't retained in Detroit.

The Lions expect to reunite Mariucci with his old friend Dick Jauron, fired in Chicago, as their defensive coordinator. Jauron is holding out hope that he could get the head coaching job in Buffalo, but if not, he is not against becoming a defensive coordinator again.

Jauron led a strong Jacksonville defensive unit that went to three playoff appearances in four seasons, including a 1996 AFC Championship game appearance, when he was the team's defensive coordinator. This will not be a slam dunk as Detroit will have to out duel the New York Giants who want to sign Jauron and reunite him with former boss Tom Couglin, the new head coach of the Giants.

Former Lions safety Dick Lebeau, who was also on Detroit's radar screen for defensive backs coach, may not be available either. Lebeau will interview for the vacant defensive coordinator's job in Pittsburgh to replace the recently fired Tim Lewis. Lebeau is also a candidate for the Minnesota Vikings job expected to go to Ted Cottrell recently fired by the New York Jets. Lewis is also a candidate in that position.

Lebeau would be a candidate for Detroit's defensive coordinator position if Jauron signs with another team as would former Arizona coach Dave McGinnis. Former Lions' assistant and player Charlie Sanders is also a possibility at receivers coach.

Sources say that Mariucci will ask permission from the Atlanta Falcons to talk to receivers' coach George Stewart who was on his staff in San Francisco. Stewart is under contract, but it is unknown if the yet to be named Atlanta head coach will keep him. In similar situations, coaches have been released, however if Jim Mora, Jr., one of the front runners for the Falcons vacancy gets the job, he'll want Stewart on his staff, possibly even as offensive coordinator.

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