"I want to make sure you understand - there is a lot of speculation that Wade somehow was the second man for the job, and that's not true," Bowlen said. "The guy who should have gotten the job got the job."
Bowlen acknowledged that a contract was discussed with Shanahan, who was Denver's offensive coordinator from 1985 through 1987 and again in 1991, "but we never got to the point where a contract was offered."
The San Jose Mercury News reported that Shanahan had been offered a three- year deal worth between $350,000 and $400,000 per season. The newspaper quoted sources as saying he was put off by what he felt was a paltry salary offer and his feeling that he wouldn't have as much control over personnel as he would like.
He returned to Denver on Sunday with the 49ers' offer, which would make him the highest-paid assistant coach in the NFL, but didn't reach an agreement with the Broncos.
"It was important to us to convince Mike that this is where he belongs," 49ers president Carmen Policy said.
After narrowing the field to Shanahan and Phillips, Bowlen said he ''basically talked to them in parallel about several aspects, including
financial aspects. Mike and I could never quite get on the same page as far as a contract was concerned, whereas Wade and I could."
Phillips, the son of former Houston and New Orleans head coach Bum Phillips, signed a three-year contract said to be worth $400,000 a year.
But Bowlen also maintained that money wasn't the controlling factor in his decision. "I felt the chemistry between Wade and me was strong. I felt I could work better with Wade."
Phillips, 45, who served as defensive coordinator of the Eagles under Buddy Ryan from 1986 through 1988, built an aggressive defense upon joining the Broncos in 1989. Denver made the Super Bowl that season and the AFC title game in 1991.
If Phillips' former boss does move east, Reeves will receive a five-year contract worth an estimated $4 million, according to the AP.
However, the New York Daily News reported that Reeves' agent, Robert Fraley, was still vigorously negotiating a compensation package late last night with executive vice president and general counsel John Mara that includes salary, TV and radio deals and other endorsements.
"It's moving along very well," was all Mara would confirm late yesterday afternoon from his Giants Stadium office. "We're getting closer. We're getting close to finalizing it."
PERKINS JOINS PARCELLS. Former New York Giants head coach Ray Perkins, who took over as head coach at Arkansas State a year ago, is leaving to become offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots under Bill Parcells.
Parcells was defensive coordinator for the Giants in 1981 and 1982 when Perkins was head coach, and then succeeded Perkins as the Giants' head coach.
Perkins, 51, was head coach of Tampa Bay for three years, head coach at Alabama for four years - succeeding the legendary Bear Bryant - and head coach of the Giants for four years.
Among seven other assistants selected by Parcells was David Atkins, who had been an Eagles' assistant for the last seven years.