Ravens staying in touch with M. Schottenheimer

Street Talk Ravens staying in touch with M. Schottenheimer

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens’ interest in veteran coach Marty Schottenheimer is mutual, according to his agent.

Schottenheimer was contacted by the Ravens’ search committee last week regarding their head-coaching vacancy and expressed a preference that he be involved toward the end of their interview process.

With the majority of their starters under contract for next season and being one year removed from winning the AFC North title, the Ravens’ job is attractive to Schottenheimer.

"At this point, Marty has earned the right to be very selective in his criteria going forward," said agent Trace Armstrong, the former NFL defensive lineman who represents Schottenheimer. "He’s still a football coach, he’s still very passionate about the game and he still follows it very closely. The Ravens’ job is an elite position.

"Marty’s willing to evaluate every situation. I know the key for Marty is going to be the people part of the equation. No serious discussions have taken place with Baltimore yet, but he has talked with them. It’s a great organization with great ownership and exceptional management. I’d say it’s a strong possibility to keep in mind."

Schottenheimer, whose son, New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, interviewed Monday for the Ravens’ opening created last week when team owner Steve Bisciotti fired coach Brian Billick, hasn’t coached since being fired by the San Diego Chargers last year after losing a dysfunctional power struggle with general manager A.J. Smith.

Schottenheimer, 64, coached Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome during the Hall of Fame tight end’s career with the Cleveland Browns.

"I have had a conversation with Marty, and he advised me of his plans," Newsome said Friday. "I’m abiding by that."

That close relationship with Newsome, who’s leading the Ravens’ search for a new coach  following a 5-11 season that led to Billick and the entire staff’s dismissal, could make it easier to foster a partnership on personnel issues. In San Diego, Schottenheimer had icy dealings with Smith and was fired despite a 14-2 campaign that ended with a playoff loss to the New England Patriots.

"Marty has a great relationship with Ozzie," Armstrong said. "They’ve known each other for such a long time."

Armstrong added that Schottenheimer has commitments from Cam Cameron to be his offensive coordinator and Mike Solari to coach the offensive line.

Out of the six candidates Baltimore has interviewed so far — Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano, Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, recently-dismissed Baltimore offensive coordinator Rex Ryan, Brian Schottenheimer and Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh — none has NFL head-coaching experience.

"I think Baltimore is one of the preeminent franchises in the league," Armstrong said. "I think they’re running a very effective search."

Schottenheimer, who played linebacker for the Baltimore Colts and Buffalo Bills, is a Pittsburgh native with a 200-126-1 all-time record as an NFL head coach that includes stints with the Browns (44-27, 2-4 in the playoffs), Kansas City Chiefs (101-58-1, 3-7 in the playoffs), Washington Redskins (8-8) and Chargers (47-33).

Schottenheimer was fired by Redskins coach Daniel Snyder in 2002 after one season to clear a path for Steve Spurrier, the former University of Florida coach who was unsuccessful in the NFL.

Although former Ravens majority owner Art Modell fired Schottenheimer following the 1988 season, Modell has expressed regret several times over the years regarding that decision and even apologized to Schottenheimer.

Schottenheimer has only had two losing seasons, but is 5-13 overall in the postseason and his last playoff victory was during the 1993 season with the Chiefs.

Several former Schottenheimer assistants have gone on to become head coaches, including Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher, Herm Edwards, Mike McCarthy, Cam Cameron, Wade Phillips and Gunther Cunningham.

However, Schottenheimer’s reputation as a taskmaster who employs a demanding training-camp regimen might not be something some older players would embrace. Baltimore offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, who’s pondering retirement, has already said he doesn’t want to play for Schottenheimer, citing his hard-nosed approach toward practice. One other thing that could possibly work against Schottenheimer’s candidacy is his age and Bisciotti’s stated desire to hire a coach slated for a long tenure.

"What’s interesting about Marty is how much his former players and coaches respect him," Armstrong said. "In Marty, you’ve got a guy who’s shown his players that this can be an honorable profession and they try to emulate that."

NOTES: Newsome said that the Washington Redskins haven’t contacted him to request permission to interview Ryan yet. .. When asked to characterize the Ravens’ status on finding a new coach, Newsome replied: "The search is ongoing. I wouldn’t say if we’re in the first round or the second round, but we’re continuing with the process." … Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March, told a Phoenix television station, "I’d love to be a Cardinal," while attending an Arizona State-Arizona basketball game this week. A Chandler, Ariz., native, Suggs attended Arizona State. Suggs can be retained with the franchise tag or the Ravens could sign him to a long-term contract extension. The Ravens have been negotiating with Suggs’ agent, Gary Wichard, since April.

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

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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