Titans step outside organization, talk to Mularkey, Fewell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans have interviewed their first candidates outside of the organization in their search for a new head coach, talking to Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

The Titans confirmed Friday they completed formal interviews with Mularkey and Fewell. The team said it will not comment further until it has concluded the search to replace Jeff Fisher.

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Mularkey is the first candidate interviewed by Tennessee who has been an NFL head coach. By interviewing Fewell, the Titans satisfied the NFL's "Rooney Rule," which requires team to talk with a minority candidate.

This is the second head-coaching job for which Mularkey has interviewed this year. He interviewed with the Cleveland Browns before they hired Pat Shurmur, and he also canceled an interview with the Denver Broncos.

Mularkey went 14-18 with the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005, but he resigned as coach in 2006 because of philosophical differences with the head office. The former NFL tight end, with the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, started his coaching career in 1994 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then moved back to Pittsburgh for eight seasons, the last three as offensive coordinator, where he mentored Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox.

Mularkey has been in Atlanta the past three seasons grooming quarterback Matt Ryan, who led the Falcons to a 13-3 record and the NFC's No. 1 seed this season.

This is Fewell's fourth interview this offseason for a head-coaching job; he also has talked with the Browns, Broncos and Carolina Panthers.

Fewell, 48, spent 2010 as defensive coordinator with the Giants. He had been defensive coordinator in Buffalo until head coach Dick Jauron was fired with seven games remaining in the 2009 season. Fewell served as interim head coach the remainder of the season and posted a 3-4 mark.

The North Carolina native started coaching in college and is familiar with Nashville from his stint at Vanderbilt, where he coached the secondary from 1995 to 1997.

Tom Coughlin hired Fewell in Jacksonville in 1998 as his defensive backs coach, and he stayed in that job through 2002. Fewell coached the St. Louis Rams' secondary in 2003 and 2004 and was with Chicago in 2005, when the Bears had an NFC-best 24 interceptions behind Pro Bowl selections Nathan Vasher and Mike Brown.

Fewell went to Buffalo as Jauron's defensive coordinator in 2006, running the Bills' 3-4 defense. It allowed just 14 touchdown passes in his last two seasons, and the Bills tied for fifth in the NFL with 33 takeaways. That's a category the Titans struggled in this season.

Coughlin hired Fewell again in January 2010 as his defensive coordinator in New York.

The Titans started the search by interviewing offensive line coach Mike Munchak, considered the top candidate for the job, and offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger earlier this week.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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