Bates meets with Thompson

Defensive coordinator one of seven thus far to interview

Defensive coordinator Jim Bates met with Packers general manager Ted Thompson today for the head coaching vacancy. Bates was scheduled to meet with Thompson on Thursday, but his interview was moved up so Thompson can fly to Pittsburgh to meet with Steelers assistant head coach/offensive line Russ Grimm on Friday, according to reports.

Bates is considered the top candidate to succeed Mike Sherman, who was fired by Thompson on Jan. 2 after the Packers went 4-12 during the regular season. The other top candidate appears to be Dallas assistant head coach Sean Payton, who is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints today.

Sherman also is scheduled to interview for the Saints head coaching position, vacated when the team fired Jim Haslett after the regular season. Sherman's name was mentioned as a candidate in New York to coach the Jets, but the Jets reportedly have shown no interest in interviewing him.

The energetic Bates, 59, revamped Green Bay's defense last year, taking it from No. 25 in 2004 to No. 7 in total yards allowed in the NFL. He spent five years as the Miami Dolphins' defensive coordinator, including interim head coach for the final seven games of the 2004 season. He led the Dolphins to three of their four wins during that time. Bates also was a head coach in 1985 with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the United States Football League.

Thompson reportedly interviewed New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis on Monday night in New York. Prior to meeting with Lewis, Thompson interviewed San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips earlier on Monday. He also interviewed San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, and Payton since last Thursday.

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