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Teams pursue Pioli

Chicopee John

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By Mike Reiss Globe Staff / January 1, 2009




Much like a free agent on the open market, Scott Pioli, the Patriots' vice president of player personnel, found himself in an enviable situation yesterday, with two teams pursuing him to possibly run their football operations.



With Pioli having met with Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner yesterday, and an NFL source indicating the Kansas City Chiefs also have officially requested - and been granted - permission to meet with Pioli, the competition for his services could yield a quick resolution.


If Pioli's meeting with the Browns went well and itineraries weren't altered by the snowy conditions, Lerner would presumably be more apt to make an aggressive push to close the deal, knowing the Chiefs are looming.


Lerner is scheduled to interview Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay today, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, assuming no deal with Pioli is struck.


Meanwhile, Denver doesn't appear to be a viable destination for Pioli.


Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said yesterday he plans to hire a head coach before a general manager. Bowlen added that three top front-office officials - Jim Goodman (VP of football operations/player personnel), Jeff Goodman (assistant general manager), and Brian Xanders (assistant general manager) - are expected to remain with the club.


It is unlikely Pioli would be interested in a job in which he can't choose his own coach or top personnel officials.


So, for now, it leaves the Browns and Chiefs as the top teams in the race, with the Browns in control based on meeting with Pioli first.


Yet an added wrinkle to the Browns' pursuit of Pioli is that Lerner is also in the process of interviewing head coaching candidates.


Lerner met with fired New York Jets coach Eric Mangini Tuesday, while New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are also scheduled for interviews, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The newspaper also reported that Mike Shanahan, the former Broncos coach, is under consideration.


Meanwhile, in Kansas City, chairman Clark Hunt has been more tightlipped about his intentions, which reflects Pioli's general style. The Chiefs have coach Herm Edwards under contract for another season, but Hunt previously said Edwards's fate will be determined by a new hire who will be a "fresh set of eyes" and "shrewd evaluator of football talent."


The hard-working Pioli, who turns 44 in March and is a two-time winner of The Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year Award, could be a fit. He has played an integral role in the Patriots' success since 2001, and in addition to running the team's scouting department, he also negotiates contracts.


Pioli has resisted overtures from other franchises in the past, most recently declining to interview for the Giants' general manager job in January 2007.


That he agreed to an interview with the Browns, and could soon be meeting with the Chiefs, indicates he's more willing to consider moving on.


In other Patriots-related developments, the Browns officially requested permission to speak with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels about their head coaching vacancy, an NFL source confirmed.


A native of Canton, Ohio, the 32-year-old McDaniels recently concluded his eighth season as a Patriots assistant, the last three as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

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You offer the man the job and if doesn't take it you have to mvoe on. Pioli was offered the job by all reports and told if they didn't hear from him by today that they would interview others.


You can't let Pioli keep you hanging. Hopefully he is just absoring everything to make a intellegent decision. I'm sure that Lerner didn't say "I want an answer by 10:00 tomorrow morning or the deal is off the table". I would hope he told him that if he doesn't feel 100% comfortable with the job offer then explore other options and we can talk again, but in the mean time I have to move on in case you decide this job isn't for you.


As far as Lerner interviewing for the HCing position, the team only has until Sunday for the teams that have a bye-week. Those interviews can't be an offer or they can't discuss money. They can only be exploratory. I'm sure he interviewed Mangini with the okay of Pioli.



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