Mr. Coslet goes to Washington

BY GEOFF HOBSON

While the Bengals searched for an offensive coordinator Thursday, their old head coach interviewed for the job in Washington D.C.

Bruce Coslet, who resigned after the 37-0 loss 45 minutes away in Baltimore this past Sept. 24, is under consideration for new Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer's offensive coordinator.

"I just talked football for four hours, so I figure that's a $10,000 fee for my speech," said a jocular Coslet from a Washington airport late Thursday afternoon.

"I've known Marty for a long time, but it's really the first time we sat down and talked all football," Coslet said. "He's a very thorough guy. Very detailed. I like that because that's the way I am. This won't be a quick decision because Marty's very deliberate."

Coslet said he's got two more interviews, but wouldn't say which teams have called. He said he'll let Schottenheimer know if anything bubbles on his end.

At age 54 and with a head coaching record of 47-77, Coslet clearly seems re-charged about being a coordinator again. He went back to it almost less than a week after the Jets fired him as head coach after the 1993 season.

"Maybe that's my niche," Coslet said. "I guess I wasn't a very good head coach. But I've been around some pretty good offenses, too. I always knew I wanted to get back into coaching even when I left (the Bengals)."

Coslet was surprised that the Washington media questioned him about "burnout," as a reason for resigning after the Bengals got outscored, 74-7, in their first three games.

"It was never about that," Coslet said. "I just felt at the time someone else was needed to turn it around and I wasn't that guy. But I wasn't burned out on coaching."

Coslet's scouting report on controversial Redskins owner Dan Snyder: "Intense. Committed. Wants to win."

Coslet makes no bones about keeping up with Bengals head coach Dick LeBeau's search for a head coach.

"I hope they find a good guy who can bring in some fresh ideas and help get it going," Coslet said. "It's probably a good idea that a defensive coach is making the decision because he really knows what can give the other side of the ball problems."

KEATON ON DECK: With Tremain Mack in jail and not knowing if he'll be out in time for next season, rookie running back Curtis Keaton is next in line to return kicks for the Bengals.

The Bengals are still putting a premium on returners in the draft. But as always, the 5-10, 215-pound Keaton is confident he can do it.

"The best is yet to come," he said this week after a rehab session for the high ankle sprain that hampered him the last six games. "God has given me the opportunity to make things happen. I'm going to show that."

With his quickness and 5.2-yard- per-college-carry-vision, Keaton showed flashes last year that he can be effective. In the preseason he returned five kicks for a 28.4-yard average that included a 42-yarder.

When he spelled Mack during the season, Keaton averaged 16.7 on six tries with a long of 25. On 18 returns at West Virginia and then James Madison, he averaged 23.4 yards and took one 58 yards.

"I'm a better returner now than I was when I came in," Keaton said. "I know how to set up now. I used to think it had to be, 'hit it, hit it, hit it.' As time goes on, I'm learning to chase the double team, waiting for things to develop and be more patient."

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ANDERSON BLANKED AGAIN:** Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson failed to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame's field of 15 finalists Thursday. Anderson, the only man to win back-to-back NFL passing titles in two different decades, has been shut out of the finals in nine out of the 11 years he's been eligible.

In fact, no quarterback made the list, which includes former Patriots and Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti as the seniors committee nominee.

The 14 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 38-member board of selectors. The committee meets in Tampa Jan. 27 to elect at least four modern-era candidates. The total class, including the senior's nominee, cannot exceed seven.

Voting for the Cincinnati market is Chick Ludwig, the Bengals' beat reporter for The Dayton Daily News.

The headline candidate is first-time eligible Bill Parcells, the former coach who took three different teams to a conference title game and whose Giants won two Super Bowls.

The other two first-timers, receiver Art Monk and tackle Jackie Slater, also look to be locks.

Also on the list is the captain of Parcells' Giants defense, linebacker Harry Carson, tight end Dave Casper, defensive tackle Dan Hampton, cornerback Lester Hayes, coach Marv Levy, tackle Mike Munchak, Steeler receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, Bills owner Ralph Wilson, tackle Ron Yary and defensive end Jack Youngblood.

Induction at Canton is Aug. 4.

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