Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeff Lurie returns from a Florida vacation Thursday hoping to learn whether Dick Vermeil has agreed to run his team.
Vermeil, who coached the Eagles to their only Super Bowl appearance following the 1980 season, is mulling over an offer to return to the team as its coach and general manager.
Reports that Vermeil, 58, was to meet with Lurie Wednesday afternoon at the team’s Veterans Stadium offices were incorrect, according to team spokesman Ron Howard.
Although it’s believed that Vermeil has not formally been offered a contract, several reports have said Lurie is ready to pay Vermeil from $2 million to $3 million a year in a deal that would cover five years.
Vermeil, who cited burnout as the reason why he left the Eagles following the 1982 season, did not immediately return a call to his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Coatesville, Pa.
But in Wednesday’s editions of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vermeil, who has spent the past 12 years as an football analyst on television, said he is still undecided about returning to a job that left him drained.
Vermeil, who had a 57-51-0 record in coaching the Eagles from 1976-82, acknowledged that the thought of returning to the NFL excites him: “I get up in the middle of the night thinking about it.”
Broncos after Gibbs
Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen plans to interview up to six candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching job, including former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
Other candidates likely will include San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan.
Bowlen fired Wade Phillips last week after a 16-16 record in two seasons.
Sanders almost rejected 49ers
It might be old news, but it was news nevertheless when All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders revealed Wednesday that a preseason meeting with coach George Seifert almost caused him not to join the 49ers.
Sanders, the NFL defensive player of the year and a catalyst in the 49ers’ 13-3 season, said an interview with Seifert on Sept. 4, the day before the 49ers’ opener against the Los Angeles Raiders, so angered him that he nearly “caught the first thing smokin’ outta here to Miami,” a team courting the then-free agent.
Eventually, Sanders cooled off and signed a one-year, $1.134 million contract. But memories die hard, and three days before his first 49ers playoff game, Sanders was talking about his first sit-down with his head coach four months ago.
“I didn’t like the things that were said,” Sanders said at a news conference, although he declined to specify what bothered him. “He was talking to a different guy than (the one) sitting in front of him. I don’t know who he thought was coming to the meeting, but it wasn’t me I think he was talking to.
“Talking one-on-one, that wasn’t the time in my life I wanted to hear that. If I’m going to make an investment of a million dollars or more in an individual, I’m going to find out everything about that individual before he arrives. If they would have done their homework properly they wouldn’t have had that assessment.”
All that is known about that conversation is that Seifert informed Sanders of what was expected and how the 49ers operated.
“It wasn’t a sales pitch,” Seifert said. “That wasn’t the idea, and that’s not what we needed. It was one just to talk about what we were about.”
Sanders has been a model of decorum off the field and - with the exception of a fight with Andre Rison in the 49ers’ 42-3 hammering of Atlanta on Oct. 16 - has been trouble only for opposing quarterbacks on it.
Bengals now Panthers
The NFL is blocking the Carolina Panthers from hiring Dom Capers as their coach, but that didn’t stop them from hiring two Cincinnati assistants on Wednesday.
Leaving the Bengals for Carolina are offensive line coach Jim McNally and receivers coach Richard Williamson.
Monday Night scores
ABC’s “Monday Night Football” ended its season with an average A.C. Nielsen rating of 17.8, the best in five years.
The network said Wednesday the last two Monday night games, Dallas-New Orleans (19.5) and San Francisco-Minnesota (20.4), were the highest-rated shows of the week among all prime-time programming.
The last time “Monday Night Football” had a higher average rating was 1989, when it registered an 18.1.
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