Rams, Holmgren Meet; Knox Makes the Rounds : Football: Former Seahawk coach remains club's top candidate, but Shaw interviews 49er coordinator.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With Chuck Knox still in their cross hairs as the No. 1 candidate to replace John Robinson, the Rams interviewed San Francisco 49er offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren in their Los Angeles offices Thursday afternoon.

Holmgren, perhaps the hottest head coaching-candidate in a league with a record number of openings this year, met with Ram Executive Vice President John Shaw for more than two hours.

Holmgren and Shaw were still meeting past 6 p.m. last night and could not be reached for comment.

Holmgren, 43, already has interviewed with the Green Bay Packers, is scheduled to meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers' brass today in San Francisco and plans to visit the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts next week.

The 49ers, as part of the three-year, $275,000-a-season package they gave Holmgren after the 1989 season, have the right to refuse Holmgren permission to either interview for or accept any head coaching job in the league.

Although the Rams believe the 49ers would not stand in Holmgren's way if he was offered and wanted to accept the job with the division-rival Rams, 49er President Carmen Policy has publicly suggested it would be very difficult to allow Holmgren to take over the Rams.

Knox remains the Rams' No. 1 candidate, but he is exploring other options, including an interview today with the Indianapolis Colts. Knox reportedly is a top choice of the Packers--along with, interestingly, Holmgren--if they can't get Bill Parcells.

Buddy Ryan, who fell off the top of the Rams' list recently, has been told by Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse that he is the No. 1 candidate to take over the Bucs' franchise. Parcells decided not to accept a $6.5-million deal with the Bucs.

Ryan has an interviewed scheduled Monday in Tampa with Culverhouse.

Two other longshot Ram candidates--Sam Wyche and Lindy Infante--are also on Culverhouse's interview schedule.

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