Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson interviewed Sunday with the San Francisco 49ers regarding their head coaching vacancy, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press.
Largely considered the favorite to be selected as the coach with a potential offer coming soon, Jackson met in length with the Niners in Cincinnati, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team isn’t announcing its candidates or interviews scheduled or completed.
The former Oakland Raiders coach Jackson also was set to sit down with the Browns, one day after his Cincinnati team lost 18-16 to Pittsburgh in the AFC wild-card game.
On Saturday, San Francisco interviewed Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter in Tampa, Florida. That’s after the 49ers interviewed fired Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Thursday.
The team appears ready to move quickly to hire a coach and find Jim Tomsula’s successor given CEO Jed York’s comments last Monday about the competitive nature of this offseason in coaching searches around the NFL.
The first-year coach was fired Jan. 3 immediately after a season-ending 19-16 overtime win against St. Louis that left the team at 5-11.
“I believe in winning championships. I realize that my expectations seem unachievable,” York said. “You can trust me that we are going to do everything that we can to get this team back where it belongs.”
The 50-year-old Jackson went 8-8 coaching the Raiders in 2011.
He has the wide-ranging coaching experience that certainly will appeal to York and general manager Trent Baalke, who promoted Tomsula from his defensive line duties to the head spot last January to replace now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
Baalke acknowledged last week the mistake made in hiring Tomsula, while also crediting the coach for keeping the team together through a tough year.
“We have a plan in place. We know the directions we’re going,” Baalke said. “We’ve just got to make it fit within the schedules that are out there that these men are tied to.”
Jackson also has a vast history as an offensive mind — something San Francisco realizes is paramount.
Especially after the success of former quarterback Harbaugh, who led the franchise to three straight NFC championship games and a Super Bowl appearance in his first three seasons as coach before going 8-8 last season and departing in what the team called a “mutual decision.”
Former Raiders CEO and current CBS analyst Amy Trask has shared her respect for Jackson and how he carried himself and worked so well within a franchise, from the field to the front office.
“It was my impression that Hue cared deeply for everyone in the organization — not just the players — and for the organization itself,” she wrote to The AP on Sunday.
“He was communicative and collaborative and he was always eager to assist in every way he could, throughout the organization. He wanted us to be the best we could be, on and off the field. He was both a leader and a teammate.”
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