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Atlanta picks Mora

Ex-coach's son to lead Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have reached agreement to hire San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora as the team's head coach, a source said last night.

The Falcons will make an announcement this morning, said a source close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mora, the son of former New Orleans and Indianapolis coach Jim Mora, was a finalist for the San Francisco job last year before the 49ers hired Dennis Erickson.

Mora met with Falcons owner Arthur Blank in his Buckhead office Wednesday for the first time. He interviewed the previous week in Atlanta with Falcons general manager Rich McKay but had not yet met Blank.

Blank was at home last night, but did not immediately return a phone call from the AP.

Dan Reeves was fired as the Falcons' coach in December and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took over on an interim basis. Atlanta finished 5-11.

Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was among those who also interviewed for the job.

Mora's hiring leaves three vacancies: in Chicago, Buffalo, and Oakland. Greg Knapp, the 49ers' offensive coordinator the last three years, interviewed for the Raiders' job yesterday.

The Falcons will introduce Dennis Green as their coach today after finalizing a four-year contract Wednesday night. Green was 97-62 in 10 seasons with the Vikings.

Vikings eye Cottrell

Former Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell is considering an offer to take the same job with the Vikings. Vikings coach Mike Tice said he offered a two-year contract to Cottrell, who was fired last week because of philosophical differences with Jets coach Marvin Edwards. Cottrell, who interviewed with Tice at the team's headquarters Wednesday and yesterday, is scheduled to visit San Diego today regarding the Chargers' defensive coordinator position. Cottrell also has received interest from the Steelers. Tice needs a replacement for George O'Leary, who became head coach at Central Florida . . . The Dolphins received permission to interview Seahawks vice president of football operation Ted Thompson for their vacant general manager position. Giants director of player personnel Jerry Reese is scheduled to interview today.

Bennett bowled over

Edgar Bennett discovered that coaching in the NFL can be as hazardous as playing. The former Green Bay running back injured his right knee when he was bowled over by defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and practice squad member Jason Jimenez, who scuffled after the whistle at practice yesterday. "I haven't been hit like that in a while," Bennett said. Gbaja-Biamila pushed Jimenez back several yards to an area where players and coaches stand behind the line of scrimmage. Bennett was talking to running back Tony Fisher when he was hit. "I never really saw them coming," Bennett said. "I was talking to Fisher about the previous play and the next thing you know I was going down." Gbaja-Biamila refused to comment in the locker room, but as he left practice told coach Mike Sherman that Jimenez just kept going at him after the whistle. Jimenez said it was just a "fluke matter" that was quickly forgotten . . . Buccaneers receiver Keenan McCardell was added to the NFC Pro Bowl team, replacing San Francisco's Terrell Owens, who has a shoulder injury. It will be the second Pro Bowl for McCardell, who had 84 catches for 1,174 yards in his 12th season.

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