49ers Backing Off Hue Jackson Pursuit?

Last week, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was viewed as the potential frontrunner for the 49ers’ head coaching job. But with Jackson also drawing legit interest from the Browns and Giants, it sounds like the Niners are backing off their pursuit of the Cincinnati assistant, tweets Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. Kawakami says the team could double back to Jackson, but for now he appears more likely to land in Cleveland or New York.Hue Jackson (vertical)

[RELATED: Browns pursuing Hue Jackson most aggressively, could make offer on Tuesday]

Michael Silver of NFL Media, who reported earlier today that the Browns are Jackson’s most aggressive suitor, tweets that no teams are out of the running for him yet. Silver suggested a few hours ago that the Niners remained “very interested.”

With Jackson’s Bengals out of the playoffs, the offensive coordinator is free to pursue head coaching opportunities and speak to any team. Now that Adam Gase has joined the Dolphins, Jackson has become perhaps the hottest name on the market — Cleveland is reportedly making a “big push” to land him, though he may speak to the Giants before making a decision. A report this morning indicated that Jackson and the Giants will meet by Thursday morning at the latest.

The 49ers have interviewed five candidates for their head coaching opening so far — Anthony Lynn (Bills), Chip Kelly (ex-Eagles), Dirk Koetter (49ers), John DeFilippo (Browns), and Jackson have all met with the team, though DeFilippo is believed to be targeted as a potential offensive coordinator rather than a head coach.

San Francisco is conducting its sixth head coaching interview today, and it’s perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch, as former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is meeting with the 49ers. Per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the interview will take place in the New York area, and will be conducted by GM Trent Baalke — CEO Jed York is in Houston at the NFL’s owners meetings to discuss the Los Angeles situation.

As Barrows observes, DeFilippo worked on the Giants’ coaching staff in 2005 and 2006 when Coughlin was the head coach, so the Niners could be contemplating a scenario where they hire Coughlin as their new head coach and DeFilippo as the OC and heir apparent. DeFilippo is meeting today with the Rams about their offensive coordinator job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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