Shanahan likely to meet with Bills officials next week

Mike Shanahan has emerged as the Bills’ “No. 1 candidate” to become their full-time coach after the season, according to a source close to the team.

The source said a meeting between Shanahan, Bills owner Ralph Wilson and Bills chief operating officer/general manager Russ Brandon, who is overseeing the hiring process, likely will take place next week.

Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher also is high on the Bills’ list of candidates, but at the moment, they are focused on Shanahan, who guided the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the late 1990s but was fired after last season.

There’s also strong speculation that the Redskins are pursuing Shanahan to replace Jim Zorn as their coach after the season. However, according to the source close to the Bills, Shanahan is intrigued by the “low-maintenance” situation he would have in Buffalo as opposed to Washington.

The Bills, the source said, are willing to offer whatever salary is necessary to land a high-end candidate such as Shanahan and would give him total control of the football operation, something Wilson has generally been opposed to doing in the past. Adding to the job’s attractiveness, according to the source, is the fact the team is in solid financial shape and not burdened by any dead salary-cap money.

“This is his (Wilson’s) last coach and (he) is going to do everything it takes to get it right,” the source said of the 91-year-old owner.

The Bills fired Dick Jauron on Tuesday and made defensive coordinator Perry Fewell their interim head coach.

Vic Carucci

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