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Peter King weighs in on Weis’ NFL options

For the record, I don’t feel 100 percent comfortable talking about Charlie Weis in the past tense as Notre Dame’s head coach yet, but I thought this was too interesting not to write about.

Peter King, Sports Illustrated’s best football writer and one of the chief information men on NBC’s Football Night in America coverage had the five most logical destinations for Weis in the NFL.

The Charlie Weis Tote Board.

Spin the spinner: Where will Weis land once he’s fired by Notre Dame? Well, eliminate Cleveland in the increasingly unlikely event that Eric Mangini keeps his job. Weis and Mangini coached together in New England but are not pals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Al Davis go hard after Weis, by the way, seeing that the Raiders won’t exactly be picking from the Shanahan-Cowher tree of top candidates. But as for offensive coordinator possibilities for Weis, I’d list five teams:

1. New England, obviously. Bill Belichick hasn’t given the offensive coordinator’s title to Bill O’Brien this year, even though O’Brien has done a good play-calling job lately. Weis was vital to Tom Brady in his formative years, but Brady’s all grown up now, so it’s reasonable to wonder if Belichick would view Brady as needing Weis after five seasons without him.

2. Carolina. Weis and John Fox are close friends and current Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson worked under Weis in New England. Carolina’s offense needs better quarterback play (actually, the offense needs any quarterback play) and needs to make better use of Steve Smith -- two areas that are strong suits for Weis. Now, if Fox gets fired, scratch Carolina.

3. Kansas City. The Chiefs don’t have a coordinator in the wake of the midseason departure of Chan Gailey. GM Scott Pioli and Weis worked together with the Jets and Pats. Not sure if Todd Haley and Weis, both strong personalities, would be oil and water.

4. Indianapolis. Surprised? I don’t see it happening, but it’s intriguing. Brian Polian, son of Bill, is Notre Dame’s special-teams coach, an ace recruiter and is tight with Weis. Colts brass loves Notre Dame and has high regard for Weis, and you can be sure Bill Polian and Manning would love to keep him from returning to New England. But here are two reasons it probably wouldn’t happen. Tom Moore, the offensive coordinator for the Colts throughout Manning’s 12-year career, seems likely to return in 2010. And when he’s gone, it’s likely the Colts would promote from within with assistant head coach/receivers coach Clyde Christensen.

5. Chicago. If Lovie Smith returns in Chicago, he may have to sacrifice offensive coordinator Ron Turner to shake up a bad team. Weis would be a candidate.

There’s nobody more plugged into the NFL world than King, and all five options seem to have some clear logic behind them. I wonder if Weis would be comfortable going back to New England, though I don’t doubt that Belichick and Brady would welcome him back with open arms.

I also think the logic behind the Fox/Weis combination makes a ton of sense, and if Charlie can straighten out Jake Delhomme, he could use Steve Smith in a lot of the ways that he’s been using Golden Tate.

For those out there that think Weis is bad coach, this list goes a long way to show you that while his time in South Bend may not have been as productive as anyone wanted, he still holds a lot of value as an elite offensive mind.