TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have kicked off their search for a new head coach by interviewing Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
The Titans confirmed Tuesday that Gruden had finished interviewing with general manager Ruston Webster.
Gruden has been the Bengals’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons as Cincinnati reached the playoffs each of those years. Gruden interviewed last season with four different teams about head coaching jobs.
The Titans are one of five NFL teams still looking for a new coach after firing Mike Munchak after three seasons on Saturday.
This is only the team’s second coaching search since leaving Texas for Tennessee in 1997, and the first conducted by Webster. Tennessee went 7-9 this season extending a playoff drought to five straight years with the last postseason win back in January 2003.
Gruden, who interviewed with Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Arizona and San Diego for head coaching jobs last season, is available to interview now because the Bengals (11-6) lost to San Diego in the wild-card round Sunday. Gruden also is due to interview Wednesday with the Washington Redskins, according to a person with familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made information on the search public.
He played in college at Louisville between 1985 and 1988 before winning four titles in the Arena Football League as a quarterback. He got his start in coaching in Nashville with the then-Nashville Kats in the AFL in 1997 before becoming head coach of the AFL’s Orlando Predators where he won two more league titles.
Gruden went to work in the NFL in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an offensive assistant working seven seasons for his brother Jon Gruden. Webster also worked for the Buccaneers during part of that time.
The Titans also have asked for permission to talk to Jim Caldwell, the Ravens’ offensive coordinator and former Indianapolis head coach, according to John Wooten. The chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance said Caldwell is expected to interview with Tennessee later this week.
Other candidates reportedly include Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Dallas special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn also are expected to be candidates but cannot interview while their teams remain in the playoffs.
AP Sports Writers Larry Lage in Detroit and Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.
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