With the NFL set for its busiest general manager hiring period in almost a decade, a familiar name with a couple of Super Bowl rings has emerged as a candidate that could draw interest from multiple teams.
Former Giants GM Jerry Reese has already interviewed with the Jaguars, according to sources informed of last week's meeting, and Reese is a name to watch as at least five other teams go about their searches for GMs in the coming weeks.
Reese and current Panthers head coach Matt Rhule were together for Rhule's one season as a Giants assistant in 2012. Sources say the two have a relationship and it wouldn't be a surprise if Reese was in the mix in Carolina, which is looking to hire someone to replace Marty Hurney.
Reese's interview with Jacksonville is believed to be his first official meeting with a team since the Giants fired him in December 2017. That doesn't mean there hasn't been interest in him. Reese declined an interview with the Raiders before they hired Mike Mayock, and sources say teams have spoken to Reese about personnel jobs. However, those sources say Reese, whose Giants teams defeated the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, has indicated he is only interested in returning to the league as a GM.
That's very much on brand for Reese, who has been unwilling to do some of the things other fired GMs have done to get their names churning once again in the rumor mill. He refuses to hire an agent, won't serve as a guest or full-time analyst, won't go on a media tour or consent to have feature stories written about him and has never been a self-promoter.
Reese declined to comment for this story.
Many around the league believe Reese's wanting to do it his way is why he's been out of the NFL for three years now. If he'd politicked a bit, they say, he'd have already secured a new job.
"I told him I have no doubt he would get another shot with another franchise," Giants president and CEO John Mara said at the press conference announcing Reese's firing, "and that at some point in time I'm going to be answering questions about why I got rid of him in the first place."
Some observers have tried to diminish what Reese did in his 11 seasons as Giants GM by pointing to the team's 91-85 regular-season record in those years. They also say the 2007 Super Bowl champion team that knocked off the previously undefeated Pats was put together by previous GM Ernie Accorsi. Of course, that last criticism fails to recognize Reese ran the Giants' drafts for years leading up to that point, including the '07 class in which all seven selections played significant roles as rookies on their way to a title.
"Jerry was an excellent GM," one current longtime GM said recently. "It's crazy to me he hasn't been hired again."