Lewis may be headed to Bengals

The Associated Press

Redskins defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis is the frontrunner to become Cincinnati’s new head coach, but the Bengals still will interview Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, according to two sources who spoke to The Associated Press yesterday on condition of anonymity.

Lewis has emerged as the top pick of Katie Blackburn, the Bengals’ executive vice president, according to one of the sources, who is familiar with the NFL’s hiring situation. Blackburn is the daughter of Bengals president Mike Brown.

A source within the league said, however, that the Bengals were still committed to interviewing Mularkey, who was one of their original preferences.

Mularkey had a short interview a week ago but will be interviewed again at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs Saturday, which under league rules means other teams are free to conduct extensive interviews with Pittsburgh personnel.

The Bengals fired head coach Dick LeBeau on Dec. 30, the day after the team finished with a league-worst record of 2-14.

Lewis, who directed the Baltimore Ravens’ defense that won the Super Bowl two years ago, would become the third black head coach in the NFL if he is hired. The others are Tony Dungy of the Colts and Herman Edwards of the Jets.

Lewis was the first minority candidate ever interviewed by the Bengals for a head coaching job. The team also interviewed another black, Jim Anderson, their longtime running backs coach.

Lewis has been interviewed twice by the Bengals, who have lost more games in the last decade than any other NFL team.

The Bengals also had two interviews with Tom Coughlin, fired as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ coach after eight seasons. Coughlin, however, is believed to be out of the picture, according to the source who said Lewis is the frontrunner.

The Associated Press

Rice ties playoff touchdown record

Jerry Rice set a record for career playoff yards yesterday with a 15-yard reception, moving past Buffalo’s Thurman Thomas.

Rice’s catch late in the fourth quarter of Oakland’s AFC playoff game against the New York Jets gave him 2,132 total postseason yards, surpassing Thomas’ mark of 2,124.

Earlier in the game, Rice scored his 21st postseason touchdown to tie an NFL career record.

Rice caught a 9-yard scoring pass from Rich Gannon 45 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The 40-year-old Rice is in his 18th NFL season.

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