Ravens interview Neuheisel, Foerster

OWINGS MILLS -- Rick Neuheisel impressed Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick so much last week that he was brought in for a second interview Tuesday.<br><br> Neuheisel, 43, is the only offensive coordinator candidate to interview twice for a position vacated one day after the season when Matt Cavanaugh resigned under pressure.

The former University of Washington coach has apparently made a strong impression with his background with quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Kordell Stewart, ideas about schemes and personality.

"We talked philosophical ideas, and, obviously, coming from a college game to a pro game, adopting to what direction we go," Neuheisel said after he was the first to interview for the position last week.

"Obviously, they've got some terrific players with Jamal Lewis probably being the focal point and Kyle Boller coming into his own."

Neuheisel faces stiff competition from New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard. Sheppard interviewed last week along with former University of Illinois coach Ron Turner, who signed on for the same post with the Chicago Bears.

A former Ravens receivers coach, Sheppard has coached Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks for the past three seasons and was the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator in 2001.

Neuheisel has been out of coaching since the summer of 2003 when Washington fired him for taking part in an NCAA basketball pool where he reportedly won $11,000. He was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing by an NCAA investigation, and his wrongful termination lawsuit against the university is set for Jan. 24.

"We didn't talk about it very much at all, which was a welcome change," Neuheisel said of his initial discussion with Billick. "Most people, that's the first thing they want to talk about. Brian, I think, has done his due diligence in checking my background.

"He told me a lot of people he's spoken to with regard to not only who I am as a person, but also my football background. I think he obviously felt comfortable enough to have me in this position. It doesn't mean anything about where we're headed in the future."

Meanwhile, the Ravens interviewed Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Chris Foerster for their offensive line position Tuesday. The opening was created Monday when Billick fired offensive line coach Jim Colletto.

Colletto was at the Ravens' training complex Tuesday, gathering his things and saying goodbye to players like offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

Foerster worked with Billick with the Minnesota Vikings and at Stanford, and he has seven years of experience coaching tight ends and the offensive line.

Foerster was promoted to offensive coordinator last summer when Joel Collier stepped down as coordinator, citing exhaustion.

Without star-crossed running back Ricky Williams, the Dolphins ranked 29th in total offense (275.3 yards per contest). With three different quarterbacks starting games last season, the Dolphins allowed 52 sacks.
The Ravens went 9-7 and missed the playoffs, slumping to a franchise-worst 31st in total offense.

Billick spent the majority of the day meeting with Neuheisel and Foerster before leaving the training complex in the early evening with the two coaching prospects.

NOTE: Former Ravens majority owner Art Modell wasn't among the finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

As well as a being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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