Originally created 03/09/02

Blank interviews former Green Bay GM



FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons' search for a general manager took another turn Friday when owner Arthur Blank interviewed former Green Bay executive vice president Ron Wolf.

Blank, who tried unsuccessfully last month to hire Tampa Bay GM Rich McKay, did not immediately return phone calls to his venture capital and family foundation office in Atlanta.

But a source close to Wolf said the team called the Packers last week to request a meeting.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the 61-year-old Wolf became interested when Blank indicated he might offer part ownership in the Falcons.

From 1992-00, Wolf served as Green Bay GM and helped the Packers win a Super Bowl. They had seven straight winning seasons and six playoff appearances during his tenure.

Wolf retired June 1, 2001. He and his family moved to Annapolis, Md., but Wolf remained a consultant to Bob Harlan, the Packers' president and CEO.

"Ron has said several times the only way he'd be interested in returning to the NFL was if he had a piece of the pie," the source said. "If that's the case, I don't think the Packers would try to stand in the way."

If the Falcons hired Wolf without giving him minority ownership, the source said, Atlanta would likely have to compensate the Packers with draft picks.

Another source, with close ties to the team, confirmed the talks.

Wolf's wife, Edie, said her husband was on his way back from Atlanta early Friday night and could not be reached for comment. According to Packers spokesman Lee Remmel, Harlan had left Green Bay and would not return phone calls until next week.

Falcons spokesman Aaron Salkin said coach Dan Reeves would not comment on Blank's talks.

Blank, the co-founder and former chairman of The Home Depot, paid $545 million for the Falcons in a deal that closed last month.

Serving as president, chairman and CEO of the Falcons, Blank now owns 100 percent of the franchise, though two longtime friends, John Imlay and John Williams, are expected to be brought in as minority owners.

Blank has interviewed six candidates for the newly created position of executive vice president and general manager. Wolf is the first whose name has been tied to ownership.

McKay and New Orleans' Randy Mueller were the two candidates with GM experience. Blank also has interviewed Seattle executive vice president Mike Reinfeldt and two personnel directors, Tampa Bay's Tim Ruskell and Buffalo's Tom Modrak.