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Titans add Fewell, Mularkey to head-coach hunt; Williams out

The Tennessee Titans expanded their head-coaching search to include New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, league sources said Wednesday.

New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, a candidate for the Tennessee Titans' head-coaching position, interviewed for three other top jobs this offseason.
New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, a candidate for the Tennessee Titans' head-coaching position, interviewed for three other top jobs this offseason. (Evan Pinkus/Associated Press)

The Titans are set to interview Fewell and Mularkey, although dates aren't known.

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams also was expected to interview for the job, but he withdrew from consideration, according to a league source. He also pulled out of the Denver Broncos' head-coaching hunt earlier this offseason.

Williams was seen as a top candidate for the Titans' defensive coordinator vacancy in 2009. But he wanted to bring his son, Blake, with him, and Titans owner Bud Adams has a team policy against nepotism.

The Titans previously had stayed in-house in their quest to replace longtime coach Jeff Fisher, who left the organization last week. The team interviewed offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger on Tuesday and offensive line coach Mike Munchak on Monday.

Munchak, who has worked for Adams since the then-Houston Oilers made him the eighth overall draft pick in 1982 out of Penn State, is considered the favorite to land the job.

However, Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt has said he believes prior head-coaching experience would be good in a candidate, and both Mularkey and Williams have that, each with the Buffalo Bills. Even Fewell was interim head coach in Buffalo in 2009, going 3-4.

Williams spent 11 seasons with the Oilers/Titans franchise, starting as a defensive quality-control assistant and working his way up to defensive coordinator before the Bills hired him as head coach after the 2000 season. He coached the team through 2003, going 17-31, before joining the Washington Redskins as defensive coordinator. He spent 2008 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the past two seasons with the Saints, winning a Super bowl title.

Mularkey went 14-18 with the Bills between 2004 and 2005 before resigning in 2006 over philosophical differences with the front office. He was 9-7 in 2004, the Bills' first winning season in five years. He interviewed for the Cleveland Browns' head-coaching job this offseason before Pat Shurmur was hired and also canceled an interview with the Broncos.

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Mularkey has groomed quarterback Matt Ryan in his past three seasons in Atlanta. Mularkey also spent eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers under Bill Cowher, including three years as offensive coordinator.

Fewell started his coaching career in college, including a stint at Vanderbilt in Nashville. He went to the NFL with the Jaguars, working for current Giants coach Tom Coughlin, and he also has coached at St. Louis, Chicago and was defensive coordinator at Buffalo. Coughlin hired him as the Giants' defensive coordinator in January 2010.

By interviewing Fewell, who's African-American, the Titans would satisfy the NFL's "Rooney Rule," which requires teams to consider minority candidates for top jobs.

Fewell has interviewed for three head-coaching jobs this offseason, but other people were hired for each. The Carolina Panthers brought in Ron Rivera, the Browns picked Shurmur and the Broncos went with John Fox. Fewell also received interest from the San Francisco 49ers, who landed their top pick, Jim Harbaugh.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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