LeBeau: Palmer among final choices

BY GEOFF HOBOSN

Former Browns head coach Chris Palmer, the first head coach to ever win a game at Paul Brown Stadium, toured the facility Friday during his interview for the job of Bengals offensive coordinator and left as one of head coach Dick LeBeau's final choices.

"He was very impressive," LeBeau said. "I would say he's one of my top people. I have it narrowed down pretty well and I would say he definitely would be in the final considerations."

But Palmer didn't get an offer Friday and is headed to Saturday's interview in Chicago with his good friend, Bears head coach Dick Jauron, for the same job. The other major player for the Bengals appears to be Steelers receivers coach Bob Bratkowski.

The Bengals have one thing working in their favor in a showdown with the NFC Central Bears.

Asked how appealing it would be to play Cleveland twice a year, Palmer smiled and said, "Very."

Palmer, who has played a role in the career of Pro Bowl quarterbacks Warren Moon, Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell, said his interest in the Bengals' job is high.

Palmer, fired last week after two years with the Browns, had been thinking about the old Browns head coaches (Paul Brown, Forrest Gregg) who had come south to Cincinnati.

"I thought about that when I was on the plane coming here this morning," Palmer said.

Palmer, 51, had vowed if the Browns fired him, he wouldn't take a day off as he bids to get back into coaching.

"I hope when the music stops, I have a chair to sit in," Palmer said. "Cincinnati has options, too. It's just not me with the options. Hopefully, they like what I've said and I have an opportunity."

After lunching with LeBeau and Palmer, Bengals President Mike Brown said he was impressed with Palmer's experience and knowledge. But he also didn't know which way his coach is leaning.

"This is Dick's call," Brown said. "I don't know which way he's going to go, but he's talked to some good people. Chris has been around some very good offenses in this league."

LeBeau has done a good job of playing poker this week during the interviewing process. Before Palmer's interview, the handicappers put the odds on Bratkowski.

LeBeau has said he'll make a decision by early next week.

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