Tuna melts away
Parcells shocks Buccaneers by turning down coaching offerPosted: Friday January 18, 2002 7:20 PM
By Peter King, Sports Illustrated
CHICAGO -- Bill Parcells shocked the NFL late Friday afternoon by informing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he was turning down their multi-mullion dollar offer to coach the team.
In an exclusive interview with CNNSI.com, Parcells said: "The job is very appealing. I just cannot make the commitment necessary to do the job."
The stunning development leaves the Bucs without the coach they have coveted for a year. Tampa Bay ownership considered luring Parcells out of retirement last winter but chose to give head coach Tony Dungy one more season to take the team far into the playoffs. Dungy was fired Monday after his second consecutive wild-card playoff loss to Philadelphia. Parcells' move puts the Bucs back to square one in seeking a head coach.
"Bill Parcells, early this evening, told us that he would not be returning to coaching," Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer told The Associated Press. "In our continued pursuit of a championship, we remain confident that our new coach will utilize the solid foundation that we have built to achieve our goals."
Parcells, 60, was clearly torn about taking the job over the past few days, despite rampant media speculation that he was signed, sealed and delivered to the Bucs. And Friday night, he told CNNSI.com that he would have no more flirtations about coaching professional football again.
"I just want to stay retired," Parcells said from his home in Sea Girt, N.J. "I hope that convinces everybody that I'm not coming back. Because I'm not. This is it. I'm staying retired. The demands of the job and what it what take for me to succeed were just too much."
Pressed for specific reasons why he was not taking the job, Parcells repeated that he couldn't make the committment necessary to do the job the right way.
Parcells' decision to stay out of coaching leaves San Diego, which had made Parcells its first choice to replace the fired Mike Riley, free to pursue deposed Washington head coach Marty Schottenheimer. The Chargers will chose from among Schottenheimer, San Diego offensive coordinator Norv Turner and Jets defensive coordintor Ted Cottrell -- expected to be interviewed by Chargers general manager John Butler at the Senior Bowl next week -- as their head coach.
The Bucs, meanwhile, who lost out on a chance to get Steve Spurrier earlier this week when they thought they had Parcells, have to be seething over Parcells' withdrawal from the job. Spurrier would've been perfect for the Bucs, and he badly wanted the job. But he figured that Parcells was a lock there, as did nearly everyone in the NFL. Now, Tampa Bay will have a weakened field from which to chose, with one possible exception: LSU head coach Nick Saban. Saban would have loved to have gotten an offer from Carolina, but the Panthers appear close to offering their job to Giants defensive coordinator John Fox.
Saban is still thought to be very interested in an NFL coaching job, despite his recent agreement to a $1.7 million-per-year deal with LSU. The deal does not have a buyout clause, which means Saban could leave at any time without paying a penalty to the university. If the Bucs are willing to pay Saban in the range of $3 million a year, they likely could persuade him to leave college football.
As for Parcells -- three times in a 10-minute conversation Friday night -- he reiterated in strong terms that he would never coach football again. But he said something similar two years ago when he left the Jets, his third NFL head coaching job during a 15-year span. Previously he had coached the Giants to two Super Bowl championships and the Patriots to a Super Bowl loss.
This time, Parcells said there will be no talking him out of retirement again.
"Absolutely not," he said, sounding tired and a bit dispirited. "I'm done. This was the last job I will ever consider. I'm just not doing it any more."