Redskins owner flies west to interview

Updated: December 31, 2003, 10:02 PM ET
By By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Welcome in the New Year? Forget about it.

Dan Snyder wants to welcome a new coach even more. And so, just one day after accepting the resignation of Steve Spurrier after two losing seasons, the Washington Redskins owner set off on New Year's Eve to begin his search for a successor.

ESPN.com confirmed that Snyder, aboard his private aircraft, Redskins One, departed Washington on Tuesday night, likely to interview at least two of the three candidates for the club's coaching vacancy.

"What's that old saying, 'Go West, young man'? That's what we're doing," said vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato, en route to the airport to join Snyder in the interview process.

Snyder has wasted no time in identifying potential successors to Spurrier, and he decided that the holiday should be no encumbrance for meeting with the candidates.

Cerrato on Tuesday said the team's shortlist included former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel, former Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green and current Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes, who has twice been an NFL head coach and once worked for the Redskins as defensive coordinator.

Sources said that Snyder has limited the candidates to only those with previous NFL head coach experience. It is unknown if he will eventually broaden the search.

It is believed that Fassel, who will meet with the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, tops the Washington wish list. It is also likely that Fassel, who is in the Bay Area for the holidays, will be the first candidate with whom Snyder and Cerrato huddle. Snyder is known for being proactive and almost certainly wants to meet with Fassel before the coach goes to Phoenix for the Cardinals interview.

Green, who interviewed with the Cardinals on Wednesday, lives in the San Diego area, and the Redskins will interview him while on the West Coast.

Because the Seahawks are in the playoffs, Rhodes cannot meet with the Redskins until Seattle concludes its season. The Seahawks play at Green Bay on Sunday in the opening weekend of the playoffs.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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