Ravens interview Former Gator QB Schottenheimer for head coaching job

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 7:45 p.m.

BALTIMORE — Brian Schottenheimer, the New York Jets’ offensive coordinator, became the fifth candidate to interview for the Baltimore Ravens’ head coaching position, spending more than four hours Monday at the team’s headquarters.

Next on their interview list could be Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh, who has been granted permission to speak to the Ravens and is expected to visit with team officials this week.

Though Schottenheimer is considered a long shot, Harbaugh is an intriguing candidate.

John Harbaugh, 45, the brother of former Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh, is considered one of the rising assistants in the NFL. A longtime special teams coach, Harbaugh switched to defensive assistant in order to better position himself for a head coaching job.

For Schottenheimer, this is the second straight year he has interviewed for a head coaching job. Schottenheimer, 34, was a finalist for the Miami Dolphins’ opening last year before withdrawing from consideration to remain with the Jets.

The decision to bring in Schottenheimer was a surprising one considering he directed a Jets offense that finished in the bottom quarter of the NFL the past two seasons. But his game plan has featured multiple personnel packages, pre-snap shifts and gadget plays that have caught the attention of NFL observers.

After a 4-hour, 20-minute stay at the Ravens headquarters, which began with President Dick Cass driving him to the facility and trainer Bill Tessendorf escorting him out, Schottenheimer declined to stop and talk to reporters, only saying, ‘‘I had a great day’’ as he walked across the darkened parking lot.

Schottenheimer took some heated criticism from the New York media this season for his play-calling.

In a 16-9 loss to Philadelphia in October, he was questioned for not using 130-yard rusher Thomas Jones on either third- or fourth-and-one from the Eagles’ 4-yard line.

‘‘I don’t call the plays,’’ Jones said after the game. ‘‘I’m not the offensive coordinator. I do what I’m asked to do.’’

Brian Schottenheimer could end up competing against his father, Marty, for the Ravens’ job. Marty Schottenheimer reportedly wants to wait until the Ravens are finished with their first round of interviews before talking with the team.

Before sitting down with Schottenheimer, the Ravens had planned to meet with Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski on Monday morning. But Chudzinski decided to cancel his interview after signing a two-year contract extension through 2011.

‘‘Romeo (Crennel, Browns coach) and I felt it was important to keep Rob in place as offensive coordinator to maintain our continuity on that side of the ball,’’ Browns general manager Phil Savage said in a statement. ‘‘He did a terrific job this year, and we’re looking forward to what this group can accomplish next season.’’

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