1-10-03, 4:10 a.m.
1-10-03, 8:50 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Another sign that the Bengals coaching staff is looking at its biggest turnover in years.
Defensive line coach Tim Krumrie, who has spent all 20 of his NFL seasons with the Bengals, is in Buffalo Friday finishing his interview with Bills head coach Gregg Williams and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, and could be named by the end of the day as a replacement for the retiring John Levra. Bills President Tom Donahoe met with Krumrie Friday morning and wasn't surprised what he saw and heard.
"We need toughness and intensity to make us a better team," Donahoe said. "He looks like we could suit him up. He was in here last night talking with Gregg and Jerry and I think it went well."
According to "The Buffalo News," Krumrie is still under contract with the Bengals and the club had to grant Buffalo permission to talk to him.
Krumrie could end up reunited with former Bengals head coach Dick LeBeau, since the Bills are looking at LeBeau as anything from a consultant to assistant head coach. Krumrie has either played or coached for LeBeau for 14 seasons.
Krumrie, 42, one of the most popular Bengals in history, has been
coaching ever since he retired after never missing a game in a career spanning 1983 to 1994. His unit suffered injuries to starters Oliver Gibson and Vaughn Booker that took them out of most of the games last season after a year the line had 28 of a franchise-record 48 sacks and helped the Bengals allow the 10th-best yards per rush attempt in the league.
Krumrie became a folk hero as the nose tackle during the glory days when he went from a 10th-round pick in 1983 out of Wisconsin to a two-time Pro Bowler with intense sideline-to-sideline play that yielded five team tackling titles.
He added to his legend when, at the peak of his game, he suffered a frightening broken leg in the first quarter of Super Bowl XXIII that was thought to be virtually career-ending. But he returned to start the 1989 season opener.
When Krumrie seemingly rode off into the sunset following his 1994 retirement (after his last game he rode around Riverfront Stadium on the motorcycle the club gave him), he returned to become an assistant line coach in 1995 before becoming the line coach in 1996.
With Gibson tearing his Achilles' Nov. 10 in Baltimore and Booker looking at possible retirement, the Bengals are exploring the possibility of taking a defensive lineman with the first pick in the draft.
The Bills are also interested in pursuing Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander, a nine-year Cincinnati veteran. But it's unclear if Buffalo has yet to receive permission to talk to Alexander, an Upstate New York native from Rochester.
Bengals President Mike Brown indicated last week that he wasn't going to let any of his coaches who still have a contract leave until the Bengals name a new head coach.