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Mitchell Hiring Is Official

Jason Reid reports: Even when J La is supposed to be getting some well-deserved time off, the guy still works the phones like an animal. We've confirmed the Redskins have a new running backs coach: Stump Mitchell.
Mitchell, formerly the Seattle Seahawks' running backs coach, has agreed to a two-year deal to join the staff of new Washington Coach Jim Zorn.
Zorn, formerly the Seahawks' quarterbacks coach, worked with Mitchell in Seattle and Mitchell has experience in the West Coast offense Zorn plans to implement. With the hiring of Mitchell, the status of Earnest Byner is unclear.
Byner interviewed with Tampa Bay, and the Redskins only offered him a one-year deal. Byner is a great guy and among the hardest-working members of the coaching staff, many players told me during the season, and it seems he's in limbo now.
We're still awaiting a official clarification of Byner's status. We previously reported that the Redskins hoped to, in essence, trade Mitchell for Byner, but Seattle could have other plans for their vacant running backs position.
Since the moment Zorn was hired, we've been reporting that Zorn was eager to add Tennessee Titans assistant head coach-offense Sherman Smith and Mitchell to the staff (it's Zorn's dream team). His goal could be achieved today if Smith, who interviewed for the offensive coordinator position yesterday, is extended an offer and accepts, which many league sources expect to occur soon.
Smith and Zorn are former teammates and close friends. Smith, who was scheduled to return home today to discuss the job with his family, would help teach Zorn's scheme to the coaching staff and players. Mitchell would also assist in teaching the nuances of the offense and with administrative stuff.
But Smith has never been a coordinator. Zorn, who served two weeks as the Redskins' offensive coordinator before being promoted last week, also has never been a play-caller in the NFL.
Smith, a former running back and longtime running backs coach, is eager for a promotion as he tries to advance his coaching career, sources said. If Smith joins the Redskins, Zorn would likely have significant input in devising offensive game plans and play-calling. Very soon, the final pieces of Zorn's first staff could be in place.

By Emilio Garcia-Ruiz  |  February 13, 2008; 11:34 AM ET
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