Sherman interviews for Saints job

More than two decades ago, Mike Sherman got his first big-time coaching job.

After two seasons as a part-time coach at the University of Pittsburgh, Sherman was hired by Tulane University in New Orleans, where he served as offensive line coach for the 1983 and 1984 seasons.

On Friday, he was back in New Orleans, finishing a two-day interview for the Saints' head-coaching vacancy.

"That was my first big job and I know people down here," Sherman said at a news conference Friday. "When I was a college coach for a number of years, I used to recruit Louisiana. I know the type of people that live here, good people. I find it to be a very attractive job."

The Saints are the first team to interview Sherman since he was fired by the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 2. Sherman enjoyed plenty of success in Green Bay, winning three division titles and going 53-27 in his first five seasons. His .663 winning percentage was the fifth-best mark for a coach in his first five seasons in the NFL since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Racked by injuries and some dubious personnel moves made during his reign as coach-general manager, however, the Packers slumped to 4-12 in 2005. It was the only losing record of his tenure, though he went 2-4 in playoff games. The only two home playoff losses in Packers history, however, came during his six-year stint.

Whoever gets the Saints job faces a major project. New Orleans finished 3-13 this past season, leading to the firing of Jim Haslett. One of those losses was a 52-3 embarrassment against the Packers.

"You do everything you can to try to win football games," Sherman said, "but I just think there comes a point where collectively as an organization you just work toward getting a winning product on the field and being accountable and honest about that product. When something's not right, you try to fix it."

As Sherman left New Orleans, former Rams coach Mike Martz arrived for his two-day interview. Among the other coaches to have interviewed are Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon and Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton. Both interviewed for the Packers' job, which went to Mike McCarthy.

Sherman's name, meantime, has been mentioned for the vacancy in Buffalo. Bills coach Mike Mularkey resigned the post on Wednesday.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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