The Washington Redskins have interviewed one of the team's assistants for the head-coaching position, the head of the group that monitors the Rooney Rule said yesterday.

Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten said secondary coach Jerry Gray interviewed with owner Dan Snyder several weeks ago for the job that is currently held by Jim Zorn.

Wooten said the interview satisfies the Rooney Rule that requires teams to talk to a minority candidate when filling a head-coaching position. Wooten said it didn't matter that the job is not yet vacant.

"Dan Snyder handled it the way it should have been handled," Wooten said. "He made a call in and he did it the right way."

The news reaffirms the expectation Snyder will fire Zorn next week and replace him quickly. Former Denver coach Mike Shanahan is considered the favorite to get the job.

The Redskins are 4-11 in Zorn's second season.

Last week, Gray gave confusing answers when asked whether he had interviewed for the job. He initially appeared to deny he had interviewed, then later amended the answer to "no comment."

Wooten said Gray interviewed before Dec. 17, when Vinny Cerrato resigned as head of the front office and Bruce Allen was hired as general manager. Because Allen is at least nominally in charge of hiring the new coach, Wooten said he would like to see Gray interview with Allen, but that it was not a requirement to satisfy the Rooney Rule.

In other Redskins news, right guard Mike Williams (torn foot muscle) will not play Sunday at San Diego.


* New Browns president Mike Holmgren has not decided if coach Eric Mangini will be back next season and said he will wait until he arrives in Cleveland next week before making any changes.

* A day after Carolina (7-8) routed the New York Giants for their third win in four games, the Charlotte Observer reported coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney will be "offered the opportunity to return next season" by owner Jerry Richardson. Fox is due to make more than $6 million in 2010, the final season of his deal. The team declined to confirm or deny the report.

Also, veteran receiver Steve Smith underwent surgery for a broken left forearm sustained on a 27-yard touchdown catch and went on injured reserve.

* Cowboys special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis went home from Washington, a day after undergoing an emergency appendectomy that kept him from attending Dallas' victory over the Redskins.

* Miami inside linebacker Channing Crowder will miss the rest of the season with a right foot injury.

* Running back Earnest Graham (torn toe ligament) and defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson (ACL) will miss Tampa Bay's season finale against Atlanta.

* St. Louis guard Mark Setterstrom (torn left triceps) will miss the finale against San Francisco and likely will require surgery.

* Denver will be without guard Russ Hochstein and returner Kenny McKinley, who suffered knee injuries against the Eagles.