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Baltimore?s offensive strategist was expected, but 65-year-old coaching icon a big surprise


When Mike Nolan was named 49ers head coach in 2005, there were rumblings he might bring along his mentor, Dan Reeves, to assist him.

Nolan is gone, but Reeves accepted a surprise invitation Friday to visit the 49ers team headquarters and discuss the offensive-coordinator position with new coach Mike Singletary.

Reeves, 65, became the seventh coach ? current or former ? to formally interview with the 49ers since Singletary fired Mike Martz on Dec. 30. The 49ers are looking for their seventh offensive coordinator in seven seasons.

Earlier in the day, Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, 43, discussed the opening with Singletary and general manager Scot McCloughan.

Former St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan turned down the 49ers? offer on Sunday. Linehan was announced Friday as Detroit Lions offensive coordinator.

Former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski, former Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, Denver offensive line coach Rick Dennison and Indianapolis receivers coach Clyde Christensen have also interviewed for the position.

Reeves is clearly the most accomplished of the candidates for the job.

He spent 23 seasons as an NFL head coach with Denver, the New York Giants and Atlanta. Reeves won seven division titles and four conference championships, though his teams were 0-4 in Super Bowls.

Reeves last coached in 2003. He was fired as Falcons head coach with a 3-10 record that year. His career regular-season record was 190-165-2. He said in a recent interview on NFL Sirius Radio that he wanted to get back into coaching.

Reeves said he took a recent flight from Newark, N.J., back home to Atlanta. When he got off the flight, he learned three head coaches had been fired.

?So why in the world would someone want to get into a business like that? But, you know, it?s in your blood and I can?t get it out,? Reeves said.

Singletary sought advice from Reeves in recent years when he began to aspire to becoming an NFL head coach. Singletary also met with such coaches as Bill Walsh, Buddy Ryan, Dick Vermeil, Mike Ditka and basketball?s John Wooden.

Reeves has worked in recent seasons as a radio analyst on Westwood One?s NFL broadcasts.

The 49ers went a more predictable route earlier in the day when they interviewed Jackson, 43, who this season tutored Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. The 49ers were unable to speak to Jackson about a job while Baltimore was still in the playoffs. The Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in the AFC championship game.

?Hue did a tremendous job with Joe,? Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this week. ?Hue is one of the best offensive coaches in the league. Hue is going to have a lot of opportunities to move up. Now, whether Hue chooses to do that or not this year or next year or sometime down the road, we?ll just have to see. But Hue Jackson is a shining star.?

Jackson had brief stints as an NFL coordinator with Washington (2003) and Atlanta (2007). He was also a coordinator in the college ranks at Cal under Steve Mariucci in 1996, and with USC from 1997-2000.

In other news, the 49ers signed receiver/return specialist Micheal Spurlock, who in 2007 saw action in seven games with Tampa Bay. He became the first player in Buccaneers history to return a kickoff for a touchdown. He spent the 2008 season on the Buccaneers? practice squad.