Clements played QB at Notre Dame in '70s

Updated: December 10, 2004, 10:59 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The sizzling Buffalo Bills offense, which has suddenly helped transform the once-struggling team into a wild card playoff contender, has also made first-year coordinator Tom Clements a hot commodity.

ESPN.com has confirmed that Clements, a former Notre Dame quarterback, will meet Thursday night with Irish officials about the school's head coaching vacancy. The timing of the session was set, in part, so that it will not conflict with Clements' responsibilities as the resurgent Bills prepare for their Sunday matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

For the most part, the bulk of game-plan preparations are completed by Thursday, and Friday practices in the NFL are generally light, walk-through sessions. ESPN.com first reported on Sunday night that Clements' potential candidacy for the Notre Dame job was being championed by Joe Montana.

Both men are represented by IMG, the sports marketing and representation giant. Neither the location nor the participants in the Thursday session have been confirmed. Others who have phoned Notre Dame officials to support the candidacy of Clements include former Irish coach Ara Parseghian and current University of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.

Gary O'Hagan, the agent for Clements, confirmed his client's interest in the vacancy, but declined to go into any more detail.

Clements has strong ties to Notre Dame and, given the decision of former Utah coach Urban Meyer to eschew the Irish opening for the University of Florida job, that has now become a key element for the school's search committee. Clements played quarterback for Notre Dame in the early 1970s, led the team to a national championship in 1973, and graduated from law school there in 1986.

He has never been a head coach at any level of the game and it remains to be seen how strong a consideration that will be for Notre Dame officials. There is some sense that the school, which also struggled to interest high-profile candidates in its last coaching search, might value a Notre Dame background as a bigger priority.

Clements, 51, is known as a tireless worker and strong communicator. He played for 12 seasons in the CFL with three different franchises and briefly with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1980. He began his coaching career on Lou Holtz's staff at Notre Dame in 1992, as the quarterbacks assistant, and in 1997 moved into the NFL ranks with New Orleans.

His professional experience includes stints with the Saints (1997-99), Chiefs (2000) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-2003). Clements moved with Mike Mularkey to Buffalo this season, when the former Steelers offensive coordinator was named head coach of the Bills.

A native of McKees Rocks, Pa., essentially a Pittsburgh suburb, Clements has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the head coach job at the University of Pittsburgh if incumbent Walt Harris leaves the Panthers.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

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