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Henderson given permission to talk to Saints

NEW YORK (Jan. 3, 2006) -- The New Orleans Saints were given permission to interview Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson for their head coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the situation said on condition of anonymity.

Jim Haslett was fired as Saints coach Jan. 2 after a 3-13 season that included the team being displaced from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Saints have asked several teams for permission to speak with coaching candidates, a member of the New Orleans organization said on condition of anonymity. There was no timetable set for interviews.

Phone messages for Henderson and his agent, Tony Agnone, weren't immediately returned.

The 48-year-old Henderson has been with the Jets for two seasons. Last year, his defense finished seventh in the league, and was 12th this year. Henderson also is black, and fits the specifications of the "Rooney rule," which requires that all teams with vacancies to interview at least one minority candidate.

Last week, Henderson once again expressed his interest in becoming a head coach.

"It'll always be a goal until I get it," Henderson said. "It's always an honor to hear your name."

As for coach Herman Edwards, general manager Terry Bradway said on his weekly radio show that he has yet to hear from the Chiefs, who are expected to ask permission to speak to Edwards for their head coaching vacancy.

Edwards used to work in Kansas City and has a good relationship with Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson, and retiring coach Dick Vermeil.

"Obviously there's rumors and speculation," Bradway said. "Officially, I haven't received a phone call from Kansas City. I know Dick did a great job there and Carl will have some options. We'll see what happens."

In Kansas City, Peterson declined comment when asked about speaking to Edwards, saying, "I would just prefer to keep that confidential."

He also scoffed when asked about the possibility of having to give up draft picks to get Edwards, who has two years left on his contract.

"I'm not going to speculate on that," Peterson said. "Any time I have to part with a No. 1 draft choice it's painful."

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