Bates must decide on future with Pack


Published: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
MILWAUKEE - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Friday released six assistant coaches and two staff members in his first full day on the job.
Defensive coordinator Jim Bates, a former Florida assistant who interviewed for the head coaching job on Monday, was not among them and could stay with the team. Bates, who was supposed to meet with McCarthy on Friday, did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
"He's a man I respect, and the job he did this past year speaks for itself," McCarthy said Thursday. "I'd love to opportunity to sit down and see if we could work out the possibility of him working here."
Bates would have been a popular pick among Packers players to succeed Mike Sherman, who was fired Jan. 2 after the team's worst season in 15 years. In his first year as the Packers' defensive coordinator, Bates engineered a modest turnaround.
Green Bay had the league's 25th-ranked defense in 2004 and lost veteran safety Darren Sharper to free agency in the offseason. Despite injuries to key players this season, the Packers allowed an average of 293.1 yards per game, seventh-best in the league.
"I would love to see Jim Bates back again," Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett said Thursday. "He's an excellent coach."
Among those released Friday: secondary/safeties coach Joe Baker, offensive line coach Larry Beightol, special teams coordinator John Bonamego, linebackers coach Mark Duffner, offensive coordinator Tom Rossley and strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin.
The team also released director of football administration Bruce Warwick and weight room assistant Vince Workman.
Four other Packers assistants already had left the team for new jobs.
  • SAINTS: New Orleans finished a two-day interview with former Packers coach Sherman, then began two days of interviews with former Rams coach Mike Martz.
    Sherman is familiar with New Orleans from two years (1983-84) as offensive line coach at Tulane - part of 16 years spent as a college assistant before becoming the Packers' tight ends-assistant offensive line coach in 1997.
    "That was my first big job and I know people down here," Sherman said. "When I was a college coach for a number of years, I used to recruit Louisiana. I know the type of people that live here, good people. I find it to be a very attractive job."
    Sherman was fired this month after Green Bay finished 4-12, its only losing record in six seasons under him. Overall, he was 57-39 and took the Packers to the playoffs each year from 2001-04, the last three as NFC North champions. He went 2-4 in the postseason.
    The Saints were the first team to interview Sherman, who said he still wants to be a head coach.
    New Orleans is seeking a replacement for Jim Haslett, whose tenure also lasted six years and bottomed out in 2005. The Saints had a .500 record overall during Haslett's first five years before finishing 3-13 this season.
    "You do everything you can to try to win football games, but I just think there comes a point where collectively as an organization you just work toward getting a winning product on the field and being accountable and honest about that product," Sherman said. "When something's not right, you try to fix it."
    Martz, fired after the Rams finished 6-10, was the fifth candidate to interview since the search began in earnest on Monday. St. Louis was 2-3 when Martz was sidelined for the final 11 games because of a heart infection. He took the Rams to the playoffs four times in his six seasons.
    The team has also interviewed Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon and Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton.
    The Saints also have contacted Fresno State coach Pat Hill, who has interviewed with the Texans and the Rams, and have shown interest in Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm, who has been busy preparing for Pittsburgh's AFC divisional playoff game at Indianapolis on Sunday.
  • CHIEFS: Kansas City signed a three-year contract with Canadian Football League quarterback Casey Printers. Chiefs President Carl Peterson said the team needs a young quarterback behind Trent Green, who turns 36 in the offseason.
    The 24-year-old Printers played the last three seasons with the British Columbia Lions. In 2004, he had a league-high 35 touchdown passes and was the CFL's most outstanding player.
    The former Texas Christian and Florida A&M quarterback also had 82 carries for 469 yards and nine touchdowns in 2004.
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