Report: Andy Reid emerges as leading candidate to be coach of Arizona Cardinals

Andy Reid was fired Monday as coach of the Eagles, but he may not be unemployed long.
Andy Reid was fired Monday as coach of the Eagles, but he may not be unemployed long.
colin e. braley

Andy Reid has emerged as the leading candidate to be the next coach of the Arizona Cardinals, ESPN.com reported Tuesday, citing a league source.

The report said Reid could accept the job this week. He was fired Monday after 14 seasons as head coach in Philadelphia.

The Cardinals officially began their coaching search with a formal interview of defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

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The interview, conducted Tuesday by team president Michael Bidwill, was the first in the team’s search for a replacement for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired Monday after six seasons on the job.

Bidwill plans to fly to Denver over the weekend to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Horton, Reid, and McCoy are the only candidates thus far identified by the Cardinals.

Horton is a rising star in NFL coaching circles, despite Arizona’s lack of success.

The Cardinals’ defense was among the league leaders in several categories, with the 5-11 overall record due mostly to the worst offense in the NFL.

Horton reportedly had other interviews scheduled.

Reid is an intriguing prospest for the Cardinals. He could be reunited with quarterback Kevin Kolb, who had some big games with the Eagles before being traded to Arizona just before the start of the 2011 season. Kolb remains under contract with Arizona but the team is expected to restructure his contract. He is set to make $9 million plus a $2 million roster bonus for the coming season.

Bills CEO adds title

Bills CEO Russ Brandon added the title of team president, and said Buddy Nix will remain the club’s general manager.

The announcement came a day after the Bills fired coach Chan Gailey following three losing seasons.

Brandon’s promotion gives him operational control of the franchise, and he will report directly to owner Ralph Wilson, who previously held the president’s title.

Brandon discussed the move at a news conference following a Monday meeting with the 94-year-old Hall of Fame owner at his home in suburban Detroit.

‘‘It was a rather emotional visit,’’ Brandon said. ‘‘He told me he was passing the torch to me to run the franchise in totality. He has granted me full authority to run the franchise with zero restrictions and zero limitations.’’

The Bills are in the midst of their fifth coaching search since 2001. They’re coming off their second consecutive 6-10 season and extended the NFL’s longest playoff drought to 13 years. Over that stretch, Buffalo only once had a winning record — 9-7 in 2004.

According to ESPN, the Bills and Browns are interested in interviewing Syracuse’s Doug Marrone, who has led the Orange to a pair of bowls in four seasons. He previously served as the Saints’ offensive coordinator.

Wilson, the franchise’s founder, has only once before given up the title of president. That was in 2001, when he hired Tom Donahoe to also serve as general manager. Donahoe was fired after the 2005 season, at which point Wilson took back the title and said he had no plan to ever give it up again.

New path for Chiefs

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, who fired coach Romeo Crennel on Monday as part of a shakeup of the entire structure of a franchise that his father, the late Lamar Hunt, founded 53 years ago, said he plans to hire the next coach and that the individual will report to him, rather than through the general manager — a change in the way the team has operated since its inception.

In fact, Hunt has refused to say whether GM Scott Pioli will be retained.

‘‘You know, historically, I’ve interacted with the general manager on everything that relates to the football team,’’ Hunt said. ‘‘I’ve had conversations with the head coach, but they’re few and far between, in terms of really strategic stuff.’’

Hunt said he anticipates having more discussions with the coach ‘‘in terms of him telling me, ‘Hey, here’s what we need to be successful.’ ’’

The list is long, but first comes finding a new coach for his team. Hunt was expected to meet with Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and special teams coach Keith Armstrong this week, and there are surely more interviews in the near future.

All the usual names are expected to be on the wish list — former NFL coaches Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, college coaches such as Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Oregon’s Chip Kelly, and top NFL assistants, including the Colts’ Bruce Arians and the Broncos’ Mike McCoy.

Nolan on Eagles’ list

A person familiar with the Eagles’ plans told the AP the team will interview Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan this week and that Koetter and Armstrong also will be interviewed . . . Former Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Holmgren, who left the Browns front office this season, has not closed the door on returning to the sideline. “If anyone is interested, I’ll listen,’’ the 64-year-old Holmgren told ESPN . . . Oregon’s Kelly, who has been linked to a number of NFL openings, tried to downplay the rumors, telling reporters at a Fiesta Bowl gathering: “I’ve got a game to play. We’re playing in the Fiesta Bowl. That’s the biggest thing in my life. If I allowed other things to get into my life, then they would be distractions, but there aren’t. Our focus is 100 percent on the Fiesta Bowl.’’

Woodson will play

Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, who has missed nine games with a broken collarbone, has been cleared to play in Green Bay’s wild-card round playoff game against the visiting Vikings Saturday night . . . The 49ers signed kicker Billy Cundiff to compete with struggling veteran David Akers, according to Cundiff’s agent, Paul Sheehy. Akers, who made 44 of 52 attempts in his sensational 2011 season and first year with San Francisco, is just 29 for 42 this year. Cundiff joins his sixth team in 10 seasons . . . Bears GM Phil Emery told the Chicago Tribune that his new coach has to be “the right person to help [quarterback] Jay [Cutler] develop, but it’s also very important that they help everyone develop.’’ Emery expects a large number of candidates, including McCoy, Kelly, Armstrong, and Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.