|Thursday, February 14
Updated: February 15, 7:04 PM ET
Falcons have their eyes on Bucs' McKay
By Len Pasquarelli
ATLANTA -- It appears that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank might still have a chance to recruit the man who many league observers regard as the current management star in the NFL.
League and team officials confirmed for ESPN.com that embattled Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay met here Thursday with Blank, essentially interviewing for the GM position with the Falcons. But while it remains unclear how the session evolved, what seems obvious is that the Falcons will not agree to any steep compensation demands from the Bucs to allow McKay out of his contract.
Sources said that, after a Wednesday meeting between McKay and Bucs ownership, the highly regarded Tampa Bay general manager has some latitude to explore other job options. But the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, has been loathe to acknowledge they granted permission to the Falcons to speak with McKay.
Neither McKay nor members of the Glazer family could be immediately reached for comment.
McKay saw his power essentially reduced last Friday when the Glazer family refused to authorize him to hire Marvin Lewis as the Buccaneers new head coach. One of the league's most respected administrators, and co-chairman of the NFL's powerful competition committee, McKay has one year remaining on his current contract, at a salary of $1.8 million.
He rejected the team's offer to promote him to club president when it appears that Bill Parcells would be the new Bucs head coach and did not sign the contract extension proposed at the time.
Blank has been eyeing McKay ever since he purchased the Falcons for $545 million, and the Bucs general manager was strongly recommended to him by several owners with whom he has counseled. McKay has played no role in the second round of interviews as the Bucs continue to seek out a successor to deposed head coach Tony Dungy.
The Falcons have interviewed three other candidates for the job: New Orleans general manager Randy Mueller, Buffalo director of football operations Tom Modrak and Seattle vice president Mike Reinfeldt. The club was denied permission to speak with three other team administrators in whom Blank had indicated an interest.
Blank said this week he would like to have a general manager within the next 30 to 60 days, but a more realistic timetable is by the end of the month, when the free agency period begins.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.