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Proceeding with caution

Schottenheimer in no hurry to return to NFL sidelines

Posted: Friday December 21, 2007 7:45PM; Updated: Friday December 21, 2007 7:54PM
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Marty Schottenheimer led the Chargers to a 14-2 regular-season record in 2006 but was subsequently fired after an early playoff exit.
Marty Schottenheimer led the Chargers to a 14-2 regular-season record in 2006 but was subsequently fired after an early playoff exit.
Kirby Lee/WireImage.com

If the Atlanta Falcons are interested in Marty Schottenheimer as their next head coach, it's news to Schottenheimer.

"I have not heard a word from anybody about anything relating to the Falcons," said Schottenheimer, who was fired by the Chargers in February after butting heads with club president Dean Spanos over the makeup of the coaching staff. "I really don't know much about the Falcons situation, other than what has gone on of late out there. Nobody should have to go through what they've gone through."

The Falcons' franchise quarterback, Michael Vick, is serving a 23-month prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation; and last week, first-year coach Bobby Petrino resigned with three games to play to take the same job at the University of Arkansas.

The Falcons were rebuffed in their efforts to hire Bill Cowher as head coach and Bill Parcells backed out of an agreement on Wednesday to run their football operations. This week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the team has made "overtures" to Schottenheimer to be its next coach and is "considering hiring" Chargers assistant GM Buddy Nix to be its next general manager.

Nix, according to a source, has not heard from the Falcons. As for Schottenheimer, who turned 64 in September, he said he's unsure whether he will return to football.

"I'm content with what I'm doing," he said by phone from his home outside Charlotte, N.C. "I really don't think I'm going to do it -- coach again. It's changed so dramatically (from) the way I was brought up in it, if you will. I would not rule it out, but ... I have not heard from the Falcons or anybody else. I've got four grandbabies and I'm having a ball with them. It would have to be a perfect fit for me to come back, and I don't know that there are any of those anymore."

The tandem of Schottenheimer-Nix would be perfect in Atlanta, because Schottenheimer has a proven track record of success in the regular season -- he ranks sixth on the league's career wins list with 200 -- and Nix is a respected evaluator of college prospects. The two would bring instant credibility to the Falcons.

Still, sources familiar with Schottenheimer's thinking contend that he will only consider returning to a situation in which he believes the team has the necessary components to make a title run in the next few years. Schottenheimer even mentioned as much, saying: "There's only one thing I haven't done and that's win a world championship."

It's doubtful he could do that in the next few years with the 3-11 Falcons.