Redskins Coaching Search Includes Black Candidates

Caldwell, Jackson, Fewell Head List to Replace Shanahan

Stacy M. Brown | 1/8/2014, 3 p.m.
An NFL rule mandates that teams searching to hire a new head coach must identify and interview minority candidates. Washington ...
From left: Hue Jackson, Jim Caldwell and Perry Fewell are all candidates for the head coaching job in Washington.

A rule in the National Football League mandates that teams searching to hire a new head coach must identify and interview minority candidates.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and the team’s general manager Bruce Allen each said that’s not going to be an issue at all.

“We are going to take a smart, step-by-step approach to finding the right coach to return the Redskins to where we believe we should be,” said Allen, 54.

“We will analyze accurately and honestly all of the decisions that were made over the past year.”

Snyder, 49, said he’s only focused on finding a top-notch coach and developing a culture of winning for the team and its fans.

Already, team officials have reached out to Jim Caldwell to replace Mike Shanahan, whom the Redskins fired on Dec. 30, after a dismal 3-13 season and because of his reported feud with star quarterback Robert Griffin III.

An African-American, Caldwell, 58, coached the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl four years ago and currently serves as an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens.

While some football experts argue that Caldwell’s success in Indianapolis had as much to do with having Peyton Manning at quarterback than any superior coaching skills, supporters have noted how well players and other personnel relate to him.

“You won’t see the players whooping and hollering and jumping up and down and getting up in the officials’ face because their leader doesn’t do that,” said John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, a Northwest-based organization that compiles a list of coaches each year that they feel are deserving of interviews.

The foundation seeks to level the playing field for minority coaching, scouting and front office candidates.

“(Caldwell’s) even keeled and you’re not going to see him hollering and cursing at officials and stomping and throwing things on the turf,” said Wooten, 77.

Hue Jackson, the former Oakland Raiders head coach, reportedly also has been recommended to the Redskins by Wooten.

Jackson, 48, who served as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator in 2003, currently works as the running backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Raiders fired Jackson after just one season in 2011 when the team went 8-8. Many, however, considered his ouster to be a part of a regime change in Oakland and not because he did a poor job.

The Redskins also have spoken to the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, according to an ESPN report.

Despite the lack of head coaching experience, both Bevell, 42, and McDermott, 39, should receive consideration from several teams, NFL experts said.

The two coaches are Caucasian and are not on the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation’s recommended list of candidates.

Another intriguing African-American candidate could be New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, whom the Redskins are also expected to interview.

Fewell, 51, enjoys a strong reputation and he has some head coaching experience. He served as interim head coach with the Buffalo Bills in 2009 after replacing Dick Jauron 10 games into the season.

“It’s not a surprise [that the Redskins have interest], given that Fewell used to be a popular interview candidate prior to the last two off seasons and the Giants’ defense just finished the season ranked number eight in the NFL,” said Dan Graziano, who covers the Giants for ESPN.

Whether the Redskins hire a minority coach remains to be seen, but some of the team’s fans said they simply want a good leader.

“We haven’t won in a long time, and yes it would be nice to have a black man lead the team,” said Lori Hatchings, 41, a longtime Redskins’ fan who lives in Temple Hills, Md.

“But, I don’t care what color or nationality the new coach may be, it would be nice to have a chance to go to the Super Bowl.”