ALLEN PARK - The Detroit Lions appear to be widening their search for the next head coach of their football team.
Add the name of Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant Rod Marinelli to the mix of candidates. Marinelli, a 29-year coaching veteran is believed to have scheduled an interview with the Lions, although when that interview will take place in uncertain.
Detroit is scheduled to meet with New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis sometime this week if all goes well. The fact that Lewis even interviewed is an improvement for Detroit. Three years ago, Lewis refused to interview with Detroit because he felt Detroit had already reached agreement with Steve Mariucci and the interview process would be a sham.
He was right.
Detroit hired Mariucci shortly afterwards and Millen was fined $250,000 as a result for not interviewing any minority candidates.
Maurice Carthon, Mike Singletary, Jerry Gray and Lewis are all minority candidates.
Detroit has already interviewed Carthon, the former Lions' assistant and current Browns offensive coordinator, former Saints head coach Jim Haslett, interim coach Dick Jauron and Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Lions president and general manager Matt Millen is scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh on Thursday to meet with Steelers assistant head coach Russ Grimm and has already met with Singletary, who is currently the 49ers linebackers coach.
Millen is expected to interview soon with Gray, the Bills defensive coordinator.
Detroit's interest in Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders appears to have cooled, but they could still interview him this week if all goes according to plans this week, that would mean Detroit would try to squeeze in four interviews, including Grimm, in a week's time.
If all these meetings occur, it would complete the first round of Detroit's interview process and then finalists would be selected. Detroit has said they will not comment on any potential candidates or even confirm that they have been interviewed unless they have been named as a finalist for the position.