SAN DIEGO (AP) Jimmy Raye, San Diego's director of player personnel, apparently was the first candidate to interview to replace fired Chargers general manager A.J. Smith.
Ron Wolf, the former Green Bay Packers GM who's serving as a consultant for Chargers President Dean Spanos, said in a conference call Wednesday that the first interview was Tuesday in San Diego. Asked if that interview was with an outside candidate, Wolf said: ``Not to my knowledge.''
Spanos confirmed on Monday that Raye is among the candidates to replace Smith, who was fired along with coach Norv Turner. The team is declining to identify other candidates.
Raye, a former wide receiver at San Diego State who's been with the Chargers for 17 seasons, didn't return calls or a text seeking comment.
According to four people familiar with the search process, the other known candidates are player personnel men Tom Gamble of San Francisco, David Caldwell of Atlanta, Steve Keim of Arizona and Tom Telesco of Indianapolis. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the Chargers haven't revealed the names.
It's not known when the other candidates will be interviewed. San Francisco and Atlanta have first-round playoff byes this weekend. Indianapolis plays at Baltimore on Sunday, and Arizona missed the playoffs.
Wolf said he was in San Diego on Tuesday but had returned to his home in Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday.
The Chargers said Monday that the interviews will be conducted by Wolf, Spanos, assistant GM Ed McGuire and Spanos' son, John, the director of college scouting. Dean Spanos will make the final choice, and the new GM will join those four in picking a new coach.
However, with several teams looking for coaches and GMs, the Chargers said their group ``will remain as flexible as necessary to attract the best possible candidates for both positions.''
Wolf said he's gotten more than 50 calls about the GM job since Monday.
``My phone hasn't stopped ringing. That's an indication of how the people within the league view the opportunity to go to work for the Chargers,'' Wolf said.
As Packers GM, Wolf hired Mike Holmgren as coach, traded for Brett Favre and built a team that played in consecutive Super Bowls, beating New England after the 1996 season and losing to Denver after the 1997 season.
Wolf reiterated that he is not a candidate for the Chargers' job.
``The game's gone by me,'' he said. ``From a standpoint I'm talking about of endurance, I don't have that anymore, like I used to have.''
Wolf said he'll advise Dean Spanos to interview as many people as possible.
``At some point you're going to come across the guy that just knocks your socks off. When that happens, you know you've reached the person you want to hire,'' Wolf said.
Part of the process will be asking candidates who they like as coaches, Wolf said.
Smith and Turner were fired after the Chargers finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs for the third straight season.