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Jets coach Edwards' status up in the air

NEW YORK (Jan. 5, 2006) -- Herman Edwards could be coach of the Kansas City Chiefs by Jan. 6.

A person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the Jets and Chiefs were rapidly coming to a resolution on compensation for the coach. If the two sides agree, and the NFL approves the deal, Edwards could be out as Jets coach almost immediately.

The Chiefs have to give up draft picks to hire Edwards because he is still under contract with the Jets. The biggest haggling point was the compensation.

Kansas City wants to give up middle-round picks, but the Jets want something a little higher. The Chiefs surrendered a second- and a third-round pick when they hired Dick Vermeil, who was technically under contract with St. Louis even though he was retired.

Earlier in the day, all was quiet around the Jets complex, where Edwards put in another full day of work. The biggest news of the day to that point was the cancellation of a previously scheduled news conference with Edwards and general manager Terry Bradway, leading to speculation the coach was headed out the door.

No reason was given for the cancellation, only that the news conference was postponed to a later date. One media report later in the day said Edwards resigned.

"Coach Edwards would never quit -- he did not resign," said his agent, Gary O'Hagan.

When reached at home, Edwards' wife, Lia, said he was unavailable for comment.

Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said the team hasn't asked for permission to talk to Edwards, who has close ties to the organization and general manager Carl Peterson.

"Carl is not even in the same time zone with those people," Moore said. "He is somewhere else, on the road interviewing candidates."

Peterson already has interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders, and reportedly talked to Baltimore assistant Jim Fassel. But he might be doing that in case he cannot get Edwards, who has been linked to the Chiefs since speculation first started two months ago that Vermeil would retire.

That only grew once Vermeil announced his retirement Jan. 2. Though Edwards went 4-12 this season, he wanted a raise and contract extension to show the team's commitment to him through what could be a lengthy rebuilding process.

O'Hagan has had no talks with the Jets about a contract extension. The idea that Edwards would ask for one after such a bad season might have rubbed some in the organization the wrong way, leaving them no choice but to let Edwards go.

In five seasons with the Jets, Edwards compiled a 39-41 record with three playoff appearances. Last year, the Jets lost to Pittsburgh in the divisional round.

The Jets are no strangers to compensation negotiations. In 1997, the Patriots got a first-, second-, third- and fourth-round pick for Bill Parcells. In 2000, the Jets got a first-, fourth- and seventh-round pick from the Patriots for Bill Belichick.

Among those who might be considered for the Jets job are current offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, former Saints coach Jim Haslett, Saunders and Fassel. Henderson is scheduled to interview for the Saints job next week.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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