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Raiders, Whisenhunt to meet Feb. 8

ALAMEDA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2006) -- Super Bowl winning offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was set to interview for the Oakland Raiders' coaching vacancy Feb. 8, a day after celebrating his triumph with a parade in Pittsburgh.

Whisenhunt was planning to fly to the Bay Area after the Steelers' victory parade and become the fourth person to interview formally with owner Al Davis for the job to replace the fired Norv Turner.

Oakland has been without a head coach for more than a month since Turner was fired Jan. 3, giving a new coach little time to hire a staff and set his offseason priorities before the scouting combine begins Feb. 22.

Davis already has interviewed Al Saunders, James Lofton and Rod Marinelli, and had talks with former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz, former Raiders coach Art Shell and Oakland quarterbacks coach John Shoop. Saunders decided to take a job running the Washington Redskins' offense and Marinelli was hired as Detroit's head coach.

Nothing came of the talks with Martz, one of the game's top offensive minds.

Whisenhunt, an NFL tight end for seven seasons, recently finished his ninth year as an NFL assistant and second as the Steelers' offensive coordinator.

His work in developing second-year quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and play-calling in the playoffs, including the reverse touchdown pass from receiver Antwaan Randle El to Hines Ward in Pittsburgh's 21-10 victory against Seattle in the Super Bowl, have made him a desirable coaching option.

With all vacancies other than the Raiders already filled this offseason, it's unclear whether Whisenhunt would want to undertake the task of rebuilding a team in Oakland or wait another year, when he could have more choices.

Since going to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, the Raiders have had three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since Davis came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the team. They won only nine games in two seasons under Turner, despite having Randy Moss, LaMont Jordan and Kerry Collins leading the offense last season.

Davis has been known to give chances to those without previous head coaching experience in the NFL, and he prefers offensive-minded coaches.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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