With Garrett out, Ravens weigh coaching options

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have been forced to call an audible in their search for a new head coach.

Baltimore's top choice, Jason Garrett, spurned the Ravens in favor of returning to the Cowboys as assistant head coach.

"We did negotiate with Jason Garrett to become our head coach. In the end, he decided to stay in Dallas," the Ravens said in a statement Thursday. "We're continuing our second round of interviews. We're excited with the candidates, and we're confident we will select the best head coach for the Ravens."

After being rejected by Garrett, owner Steve Bisciotti called for a huddle at the team's training complex to discuss Baltimore's next move. Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach John Harbaugh could be invited back as soon as Friday, and the Ravens have not publicly dismissed the possibility of interviewing former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Now that Garrett is no longer an option, there is no rush to fill the void created by the dismissal of Brian Billick on Dec. 31.

"The bottom line is we want to make the right choice, and we haven't put a deadline on ourselves," team spokesman Kevin Byrne said.

The 41-year-old Garrett interviewed with Baltimore on Tuesday for more than six hours, but left without taking the job. He met with the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday, then decided to stay in Dallas.

If the Ravens are looking for an up-and-coming coach with boundless enthusiasm, Harbaugh, 45, might be a solid alternative.

Before shifting to defense under Andy Reid this season, Harbaugh coached the Eagles' special teams for seven seasons. He was named NFL special teams coach of the year in 2001 and has prior stints as a college assistant at Indiana, Cincinnati, Morehead State, Pittsburgh and Western Michigan.

The brother of Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh -- who once played quarterback for the Ravens -- John Harbaugh played defensive back at Miami (Ohio) and is the son of former Western Kentucky coach Jack Harbaugh.

He doesn't have the experience of a Marty Schottenheimer, but is eager to tackle the challenge.

"I don't think there's any one way to prepare to be a head coach," Harbaugh said on Jan. 8 after his first interview with the Ravens. "I don't think you're a head coach until you become a head coach and you find out what your style is. Everybody applies their experiences, their talents, their efforts and then you see what happens. Andy Reid was never a coordinator before being a head coach and he's one of the best in the league."

Others hopeful of a second interview are: Former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Marty's son.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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