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Henning Joins Charger List of Head Coach Candidates

Former Atlanta Falcon Coach Dan Henning is the latest candidate for the Charger coaching job.

Henning, 46, the receivers’ coach for the Washington Redskins, met with Steve Ortmayer, the Charger director of football operations, Wednesday night in Mobile, Ala., where they are attending workouts for Saturday’s Senior Bowl.

“I’m not going to make any comments on the situation,” Henning said Wednesday before the meeting. “I don’t want to be obtuse about it. I’m just going to meet with him.”

Henning has been an assistant coach at Florida State, Virginia Tech, with the Houston Oilers, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Redskins. He was 22-41-1 as head coach of the Falcons from 1983-86, including two 4-12 seasons. He played quarterback for the Chargers from 1964 to 1967.

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He could not be reached after the meeting.

“It’s just part of the process that we’re going through,” Ortmayer said Wednesday night after the meeting. “We are simply continuing the interviewing process.”

It was the seventh candidate Ortmayer has met with in the search to replace Al Saunders, who was fired a month ago.

Ortmayer also has met with Marty Schottenheimer, the former Cleveland coach; George Seifert, San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, and Floyd Peters, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator. Ortmayer also spoke with three of Saunders’ assistants--Ron Lynn, the defensive coordinator; Jerry Rhome, the offensive coordinator, and Wayne Sevier, the team’s special teams coach--concerning the job.

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Schottenheimer has twice come to San Diego to speak with Ortmayer about the position, but wants to bring in his own assistants. That’s where the two seem at an impasse. The Chargers want to retain some of their assistant coaches, including Lynn.

“Every meeting that I had with Marty went well,” Ortmayer said. “We think very highly of Marty Schottenheimer. He is a viable possibility for us. It is true he wants to bring in his own assistants. It is true that we want to retain some of our assistants. If that is a problem, it is something the media has created. I don’t see it as a problem. Problems are things that are there to be worked through. I think that every effort is being made to do that.”

Ortmayer refuted the general feeling that Schottenheimer is the favorite for the position.

“Everybody we talk to is a legitimate candidate for the job,” Ortmayer said.

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Ortmayer plans to meet with at least one other candidate, but couldn’t say who.

“We haven’t received permission yet,” he said.

The Chargers don’t expect to hire a coach before the Super Bowl and maybe not before the NFL scouting combine Feb. 2 in Indianapolis.


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