Ravens interview Brian Schottenheimer

OWINGS MILLS -- New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer became the fifth candidate to interview for the Baltimore Ravens' head-coaching vacancy, and he probably won't be the last Schottenheimer to be considered for the job. However, the next candidate expected to be interviewed is Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh.

A meeting with the highly-regarded assistant could transpire as soon as today.

Harbaugh, 45, is the brother of Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, the former Ravens quarterback.

Prior to coaching the secondary, Harbaugh coached the Eagles' special teams for several seasons.

Brian Schottenheimer met for over four hours with team officials Monday, including team owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome after arriving at the team's training complex at 1:17 p.m. with team president Dick Cass.

"I had a great day," Schottenheimer said as he declined to talk to reporters before leaving the Ravens' headquarters around 5:30 p.m. with head trainer Bill Tessendorf.

Meanwhile, his father, former San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, has been contacted by Newsome, but has expressed a preference to be interviewed late in the process to find a replacement for fired coach Brian Billick. Schottenheimer coached Newsome when he was a Hall of Fame tight end for the Cleveland Browns.

Former Ravens majority owner Art Modell has repeatedly expressed regrets over the years about firing Schottenheimer.

The elder Schottenheimer's hard-nosed approach might not be deemed as veteran-friendly, though.

"Of all the names that have been mentioned, I think Marty would probably be the best fit," offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden said this week during his weekly radio show. "But I would not want to play for Marty personally. Nothing against the man, I just know his style. He had Bruce Smith doing the Oklahoma drill when he was with the Redskins."

Brian Schottenheimer, 34, wasn't too successful statistically with the Jets over the past two years as New York finished 25th in total offense in 2006 and 26th last season, finishing 18th in 2006 and 25th in points scored last season. He drew criticism in the media for his play-calling and was also second-guessed by running back Thomas Jones.

Nonetheless, the younger Schottenheimer is regarded as innovative in NFL circles. He was a finalist for the Miami Dolphins' job that went to a since-fired Cam Cameron, before withdrawing his name from consideration.

The Ravens' bid to interview Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski was blocked after he declined their request and signed a two-year contract extension through 2011.

"I would like to thank Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens organization for considering me as a candidate for their head coaching position," Chudzinski said in a statement. "However, at this time it was the best decision for me both personally and professionally to stay in Cleveland and continue the rebuilding process with the Browns. I'm pleased with the progress we made as an offensive unit this season and I feel this team is headed in the right direction."

Chudzinski also had personal reasons to remain in Cleveland as his wife gave birth to a baby Dec. 30.

Besides Chudzinski, who led the Browns' offense to the eighth overall ranking in his first season, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz are the other coaches who have removed themselves from consideration.

The Ravens have interviewed Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano, Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Schottenheimer and defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who was fired a week ago along with the rest of Billick's staff.

Ryan interviewed Monday for the Atlanta Falcons' head-coaching job and will meet with the Miami Dolphins today.

Other potential candidates for the Ravens' job includes Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom, who played for legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant with Newsome, Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary, the former Ravens' linebackers coach, and former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

Cowher has declined overtures, saying he has no intentions of returning to the sidelines in 2008. Singletary hasn't been officially contacted yet.

The Ravens are expected to reach out to Schwartz at some point.

Schwartz has several connections to the Ravens. He worked as a quality control coach in Baltimore and was a college and pro scout when the team was in Cleveland, also assisting the defensive staff.

NOTE: Besides their AFC North schedule, the Ravens' away games next season will be against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. Their non-conference home games will be against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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