Line forms to replace Donatell

Rumors about Ed Donatell's replacement began to circulate as soon as the Green Bay Packers announced the firing of their defensive coordinator Friday.<P>

Packers coach/GM Mike Sherman indicated that Donatell's successor could come from within the organization.

"To be honest with you, obviously there are some candidates on our staff and are out there," Sherman said at Friday's press conference.

"I'm going to interview people on our staff at this present time," Sherman said. "I'm also going to the Senior Bowl. I'll be there the entire week. I'll have an opportunity to meet different coaches that are going to be available to me at that time down there and go through that process."

Two other possible candidates come freshly off their own firings from the Chicago Bears.

Former Bears' head coach Dick Jauron was dismissed shortly after the season after four campaigns in Chicago. Jauron was the Packers defensive backs coach from 1986-1994.

At Jauron's final press conference for the Bears, he indicated a strong desire to stay in football. He made comments that would indicate he'd be interested in a job with Green Bay, which would take him back to Soldier Field as a visitor once a year:

"I hope to be back in this city at some time working for somebody else," Jauron said. "That's my goal and ambition."

The ex-Bears' coach would bring experience to the Packers' open position. Jauron,53, served as the Jacksonville Jaguars' defensive coordinator from 1995-1998, with his tenure including the Jaguars' ascent to the AFC Championship game in 1996. They were one step away from a berth in Super Bowl XXXI vs. Green Bay, but fell to the Patriots.

Asked if he was specifically interested in a former head coach to lead his defense, Sherman replied: "Not at all. Whoever coordinates our defense will be somebody I think can help lead us to the Super Bowl."

Another candidate with both Bear and Packer ties was the subject of speculation on Chicago sports talk radio Friday. Greg Blache was axed as the Bears' defensive coordinator in the same clean sweep as Jauron. Blache's 15 years as an NFL coach included the past five seasons in Chicago, five before that with Indianapolis, and five with Green Bay (1988-93). He was the Packers' defensive line coach, serving alongside Jauron, before joining former boss Lindy Infante in Indianapolis.

While in Indy, Blache coached several top pass rushers including former Packer Tony Bennett.

If Sherman has a short list, he's not tipping his hand.

"When I feel like I've found the right person for the job on either side ... (and there are) big shoes to fill because both men have made contributions here, then I'll make that decision at that time," Sherman said, referring to Donatell and fired tight ends coach Jeff Jagodzinski. "No sooner, no later."


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