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"I don't anticipate the next coach will have both jobs," Bowlen said.
And Bowlen said he wanted to focus on hiring a coach, then a general manager. That unconventional approach could eliminate some potential candidates such as Scott Pioli, Bill Cowher or Bill Parcells from front office consideration because they would presumably want a say in hiring the coach.
Bowlen said the current front office trio of Jim Goodman, Brian Xanders and Jeff Goodman would stay in place. Although Jim Goodman is the vice president of football operations and player personnel, Bowlen wouldn't call him a general manager.
Bowlen said he'll consult with chief operating officer Joe Ellis in selecting the next head coach. The owner also said most of Shanahan's assistants will be fired, although they'll be considered on a coach-by-coach basis.
Cutler wants quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates to stick around. He just signed a contract extension and has a budding relationship with the third-year pro who earned his first Pro Bowl nod this season.
Keeping Bates would soothe Cutler, who publicly criticized Bowlen's firing of Shanahan. Bowlen said he would keep Cutler in the loop on the coaching search out of respect for his star.
"I talked to Jay Cutler, and Jay understood ... I didn't get any negative feedback," Bowlen said. "I think he understands enough about the business of football, the game of football, that there are going to be coaching changes and changes in organizations. I didn't sense that Jay had any negative feelings about it, and I'm sure he is very interested in who is going to be the next head coach. Obviously, he is 'The Man' around here now, so I will be talking with Jay."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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