One door closed Thursday for 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans in his quest to become an NFL head coach when the Carolina Panthers hired Frank Reich to fill the vacancy for their top job. Carolina originally requested to interview Ryans, but they couldn’t come together on a time prior to the 49ers’ divisional playoff game vs. the Cowboys. However, Thursday wasn’t all bad news for Ryans.
A report surfaced from Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver that Ryans is the leading candidate for the Broncos’ coaching vacancy.
Other Broncos’ head coach candidates remain in the mix including Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton and former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Jim Caldwell, according to a source. But Ryans appears to be a top choice.
Quinn has since removed himself from head coach consideration, leaving Payton and Caldwell as the only competition for Ryans. There are hurdles to hiring Payton though, whose rights are still owned by the Saints.
Klis also noted in his report that Ryans is coveted by the Houston Texans – another team Ryans has interviewed with.
No action can be taken by Denver until the Monday after the NFC championship game per league rules. He can’t be hired until then if the 49ers lose Sunday, and he can’t take a second interview until then if they win.
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