Sources: Titans eye pair for opening

Updated: February 2, 2011, 8:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Tennessee Titans are interested in talking to a trio of current NFL coordinators to fill the vacancy created by coach Jeff Fisher's departure, but only two are interested in talking back, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The Titans have been given permission to interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for their coaching position, sources have told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

The Titans have also obtained permission to talk to New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, league sources tell ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. A league source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk that Fewell will accept the request and interview with the Titans.

However, New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams withdrew his name from consideration after originally being scheduled to interview Thursday.

"Yes, I withdrew," Williams confirmed to ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky. "The timing is just not right. I love the organization, I love the city of Nashville. It's just not the right timing this time."

A source told ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter that Williams' reason for the withdrawal was twofold. Williams changed his mind out of respect to his friend Fisher and because New Orleans lost Williams' potential successor Dennis Allen to Denver. Allen left his job as Saints defensive backs coach to become the Broncos' defensive coordinator. Had Tennessee parted ways with Fisher at the start of the off-season, Williams would have been more apt to interview for the Titans job.

All three men worked for the Buffalo Bills within the last decade before moving on to work as coordinators for other teams.

The Titans are seeking a replacement for Fisher, who parted with the team last week. Tennessee already has spoken with a pair of in-house candidates, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and offensive line coach Mike Munchak.

Mularkey coached the Bills in 2004-05, going 14-18 over two seasons. He succeeded Williams, who went 17-31 over three seasons in Buffalo from 2001-03.

Fewell was elevated from defensive coordinator to interim coach for the Bills in 2009 after Dick Jauron was fired. He went 3-4 to finish the season.

Fewell has already interviewed with the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers this offseason. All three hired head coaches, however. The San Francisco 49ers also requested permission to talk to Fewell but never interviewed him after the Niners hired Jim Harbaugh instead. Munchak is reportedly the leading candidate to replace Fisher. The Titans, however, must comply with the Rooney Rule and interview a minority candidate before hiring a coach.

Even though Fewell just finished his first season as defensive coordinator for the Giants, he has become a hot name for head coaching openings. Several Giants players want Fewell to return, as the defense was a top-five unit for most of the season.

Mularkey interviewed for the Browns' coaching vacancy earlier this year. He previously was an offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh under former Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.