After interviewing Savage along with multiple executives from around the league, the Dolphins executed a curious audible when they hired South Florida icon Dan Marino, the retired, record-setting passer, as their director of football operations.
As for Nolan, the Ravens' defensive boss held discussions with Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, but never officially interviewed. His announcement coincides with Chicago naming Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm and St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith as finalists for a job vacant since Dick Jauron was fired. "I'm aware that the process is still ongoing, but I've notified the Chicago Bears that I'm no longer a candidate for the job," Nolan said at the Ravens' training complex. "I've got a great job already. I'm a Raven. "I talked to Jerry a few times over the weekend and I was intrigued. I realize that I might sound like an infomercial, but this is a great organization and a great place to be."
Nolan, 44, is a former defensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and New York Jets. The Ravens' defense ranked third overall this season as Baltimore (10-6) won the AFC North championship. "We can be even better next season with another year of experience," Nolan said. "I'm excited about what can be accomplished here."
Savage interviewed with Dolphins president Eddie Jones, chief operating officer Bryan Wiedmeier and owner Wayne Huizenga a week ago, but the Dolphins went in an altogether different direction.
For the past three years, Savage has been courted by other franchises for personnel jobs. After the Ravens won the Super Bowl, Savage interviewed with the Bears, who ultimately hired Angelo. He was also leading candidate for the Philadelphia Eagles' personnel job that involved answering to head coach Andy Reid, a position that former Dolphins scout Tom Heckert Jr. now holds. Last year, Savage interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, contract talks with owner Wayne Weaver hit an impasse and Savage opted to stay in Baltimore instead of partnering with Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio, the former Ravens' linebackers coach. Former Ravens director of pro personnel James Harris is now the Jaguars' vice president of player personnel.
The Ravens had a club-record eight Pro Bowl selections this season, including linebacker Ray Lewis, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and running back Jamal Lewis, the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. All of those players were drafted in the first round by Baltimore with the exception of special-teams standout and outside linebacker Adalius Thomas, a sixth-round find from Southern Mississippi. Savage was instrumental in recommending those picks to general manager Ozzie Newsome. Baltimore tied the Kansas City Chiefs for having the most Pro Bowl selections.
NOTES: The Arizona Cardinals have been granted permission to interview Ravens offensive line coach Jim Colletto for their offensive coordinator position, according to a report in the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune. … The Dolphins signed defensive tackle Nate Bolling, formerly of the Ravens' practice squad, and safety Antwoine Sanders, a seventh-round draft pick that Baltimore let go via an injury settlement with during training camp.
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.