49ers will speak to Kiffin

Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 1:07 a.m.
SAN FRANCISCO - The 49ers got permission to speak to Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin about their head coaching job and interviewed Jets assistant Ted Cottrell on Tuesday.
Kiffin built the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense into the No. 1 unit in the NFL, one that dominated the Oakland Raiders' top-rated offense in Sunday's 48-21 victory.
San Francisco general manager Terry Donahue plans to talk to Kiffin on Friday or Saturday. Whether they will meet in person depends on the Bucs' busy post-Super Bowl schedule.
The 62-year-old Kiffin has expressed interest in becoming an NFL head coach, as long as it's the right situation. His deal with the Buccaneers runs through 2004 and makes him the highest-paid assistant coach in the league at about $1 million annually.
San Francisco fired Steve Mariucci on Jan. 15, three days after the 49ers lost to Tampa Bay in the second round of the NFC playoffs. Mariucci is thought to be a leading contender to become the new coach of the Lions, who fired Marty Mornhinweg on Monday.
Cottrell, New York's defensive coordinator, joins a growing list of candidates with the 49ers. Donahue already interviewed Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, along with New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora, the son of the former Indianapolis and New Orleans coach.
Johnson removed his name from the running last week.
Owner John York repeatedly has said there is no timetable for hiring a coach. He will choose from a list of finalists compiled by Donahue.
  • Oakland All-Pro center Barret Robbins, who spent Super Bowl Sunday in a hospital after disappearing from the team's hotel, has a history of depression.
    The 6-foot-3, 320-pound lineman had apparently stopped taking his medicine for depression and bipolar disorder, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a source close to Robbins.
    Robbins disappeared Friday night and didn't resurface for nearly 24 hours, after which the Raiders kicked him out of the team hotel and put him on the inactive list for the championship game.
    Robbins had been acting strangely during the week, appearing dazed during Tuesday's Media Day.
    A Robbins family member said he was on a suicide watch, according to the New York Daily News.
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