Henderson a finalist for Jets' coordinator job

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens secondary coach Donnie Henderson is a finalist for the New York Jets' defensive coordinator job. <P> Jets coach Herm Edwards' choices have been narrowed down as prospective coaches have accepted other offers. Now, it's apparently down to Henderson and Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach Ron Rivera as the top candidates.

Edwards was complimentary of Henderson in published reports after the Baltimore assistant's interview two weeks ago. He also related that sentiment in a conversation with Ravens coach Brian Billick.

However, Edwards has said he wanted to talk with Rivera, and possibly others, before making up his mind. The Eagles assistant is now available to talk after his team's third consecutive loss in the NFC title game.

Meanwhile, Edwards has lost out on other candidates.

Former Tennessee Titans linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham accepted the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive coordinator position.

Former Nebraska interim coach Bo Pelini will work for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops as the Sooners' co-defensive coordinator.

And former Chicago Bears coach Dick Jauron will be Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci's defensive coordinator. Plus, former Bills head coach Gregg Williams, Edwards' first choice, will run Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs' defense.

The only other person to interview with Henderson is former New York Giants defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn, and he's considered to be a long shot. Edwards was blocked from talking to Tampa Bay defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

Neither Henderson, who coached the fourth-ranked pass defense that featured Pro Bowl selections in safety Ed Reed and cornerback Chris McAlister, or Rivera, a former Bears linebacker, has been a coordinator in the NFL.

"If Donnie was to get that job, we'd be extremely happy for him because he deserves to be a defensive coordinator," Billick said. "He's an excellent football coach who has done a great job for us."

NOTES: Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas, a Pro Bowl special-teams standout, had elbow surgery. Cornerback Gary Baxter had surgery on his finger.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

Ravens Insider Top Stories