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December 11, 2004

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It appears that Notre Dame has found their man.

ESPN.com is reporting that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is in negotiations with the Fighting Irish to become their next head coach.

However, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the deal is not complete.

The school had interviewed Bills offensive coordinator Tom Clements on Thursday night, but apparently after meeting with Weis on Friday reportedly told Clements on Saturday morning that he was no longer in the running for the job.

The team then apparently began negotiations with Weis.

What will happen next is unknown as Weis is under contract for the remainder of the season, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told the media on Friday that he expects Weis to be here for the rest of the year.

"Charlie is here," said Belichick on Friday. "Charlie is working hard. Charlie, I expect, will continue to be here and carry out his responsibilities through the season."

When pressed further Belichick said that he had nothing else to say on the situation.

"I don't have anything to say about the Notre Dame situation or any other college situation or any other pro situation," continued Belichick. "Anything with regard to any other team, college or pro, other than the New England Patriots you would have to talk to whoever that group is."

Due to the heavy recruiting requirements it would be difficult for Weis to fulfill his duties as New England's offensive coordinator and still find adequate time to travel to potential students' living rooms and convince both the student and their parents that Notre Dame is the place they need to be.

Still, should the Patriots reach the Super Bowl in February, Belichick says he expects Weis to be here for the long haul, and not to have this opportunity for Weis become a distraction for his team.

"Right," said Belichick when asked if the Patriots end up in the Super Bowl this year if he expected Weis to be his offensive coordinator in that game. "Long term for me is Sunday against Cincinnati, okay?"

"That's where my focus is. That's where Charlie's focus is. That's where the team's focus is. And that's as far as I'm going. Sunday. Cincinnati."

Notre Dame is looking for a replacement for fired coach Tyrone Willingham who was fired after just three seasons.

Weis, who is also a Notre Dame alumnus, is in his 15th season as an NFL coach, 10 of which have been spent with the Patriots.


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