SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers must interview a minority candidate for their head-coaching opening before making a hire even if they trade for their next head coach.
A trade scenario may be in play this week as the Saints and Sean Payton continue to deliberate on his future. Payton is under contract with New Orleans for two more seasons, but after back-to-back 7-9 records, there is a sense that the Saints could deal him to another team. Payton, 52, is tentatively scheduled to address the New Orleans media at noon (PST) today.
Payton is believed to be on the 49ers’ list of potential candidates. He was born in San Mateo and fits the criteria the 49ers are seeking: An experienced head coach whose expertise is on offense and who can develop a quarterback.
John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation said Wednesday he is not worried the 49ers will avoid the parameters of the so-called Rooney Rule, which requires minority candidates to be interviewed for head-coaching and general manager openings. He said the team is scheduled to talk to Bills assistant coach Anthony Lynn on Thursday in New York.
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The 49ers also are scheduled to meet with Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who is being sought by two other teams, the Browns and Dolphins. Those interviews are expected to occur Sunday, one day after the Bengals and Steelers play in the wildcard round of the playoffs.
The 49ers' interview with Lynn will occur in New York, the site of owners' meetings about a team potentially moving to Los Angeles. Jed York, the CEO of the 49ers, is on the league's stadium committee.