Strange 49ers’ search turns to Coughlin

If the 49ers want to make a splash with their next head coach, they may have to up the ante or else settle for a small ripple.

As the Cleveland Browns took the clear lead in the Hue Jackson derby, the Niners asked for permission Monday to speak with Tom Coughlin, 69, the deposed New York Giants coach.

The Niners aren’t likely to name their next head coach until later this week at the earliest. CEO Jed York will join the NFL’s other 31 owners today and Wednesday at a special meeting in Houston, where they will attempt to settle the relocation issue involving the Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams to the Los Angeles market.

The request to contact Coughlin came at the recommendation of football legend Bill Parcells, who recently lobbied on his behalf for the Philadelphia Eagles’ position, which became vacant when Chip Kelly was fired last month. Niners general manager Trent Baalke is candid about his respect for Parcells, and the two discuss football matters on a
semiregular basis.

“I do know that from kind of hearing the list available, it looks like the talent pool is a little bit thin right now,” Parcells told a Philadelphia radio station.

For three seasons (1988-90), Coughlin worked under Parcells as Giants wide receivers coach. The team won Super Bowl XXV in the final one.

Coughlin resigned under pressure as Giants coach last week but would not rule out a return to the sidelines. He met with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and other team officials on Monday.

Meanwhile, Jackson and the Browns were believed to be on the verge of an agreement.

In Cleveland, Jackson has been promised considerable input on personnel decisions, the kind of authority that he would not have in Santa Clara with Baalke in place.

The Browns also own the second pick in the draft and perhaps another chance to draft their quarterback of the future.

The Niners remain interested in Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who met with them last weekend. If they or any other team were to extend an offer, the Buccaneers could call on him to succeed Lovie Smith, who was relieved of his head coach duties last week.

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