Vermeil hedges on coaching future with Rams
Posted: Monday January 31, 2000 03:08 PM
Dick Vermeil: "Right now, the only thing on my mind is to go home and enjoy this experience." AP
ATLANTA (AP) -- Dick Vermeil isn't ready to walk into the sunset yet.
A day after he justified his coaching comeback with the St. Louis Rams' Super Bowl victory, Vermeil hedged on his future. Vermeil, 63, is under contract for two more years and insists he hasn't decided what to do yet.
"I've given it thought," Vermeil said Monday. "If I say I'm definitely coming back and change my mind, you'll say 'You lying son of a gun.' I'm not going to be trapped."
Dick and Carol Vermeil celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary on Friday, and before the Super Bowl Carol Vermeil told her husband he had nothing left to prove. Vermeil is sensitive to her concerns and needs, but he also responded that coaching was in his blood, and always has been.
The Rams' 23-16 victory in perhaps the most thrilling Super Bowl finish ever could change that. What better exit? Plus, his hand-picked successor, offensive coordinator Mike Martz, is ready to step in.
"I told everyone before the season that Mike Martz was the type of coach who would go after it -- from the first game to the last," said wide receiver Isaac Bruce, who caught the clinching touchdown pass.
But the timing isn't right yet.
Immediately after the game, Vermeil said his main thoughts were to have a few glasses of vintage Napa Valley wine. "The best stuff, and I know the best stuff," said the coach, who was raised in northern California.
He also said this type of speculation certainly beat the alternative. After the Rams went 5-11 and 4-12 his first two seasons, he noted he might have departed for a different reason.
"For two years, people have been wanting to know when I was going to get fired," Vermeil said. "Now they want to know how long I'm going to coach. I like this a lot better."
On Monday, his plans remained iffy.
"The first thing I'm going to do is give some thought to going home," Vermeil said. "Right now, the only thing on my mind is to go home and enjoy this experience."
Vermeil's closest friends don't know what he'll do. Longtime broadcasting sidekick Brent Musburger, who attended the news conference, called Vermeil's decision a "jump ball."
"I think his wife will probably want to go back to a more relaxed lifestyle," Musburger said. "But as I listened to him talking about Monday Night Football next year and all the big games, it doesn't sound like there was much to walk away from."
Nor do his players, many of whom mentioned during the Super Bowl buildup that this would be a fitting blaze of glory. Quarterback Kurt Warner, who added a Super Bowl MVP trophy and a truck to his haul, couldn't add any insight. He said Vermeil didn't tip his hand after the game.
"Not that I heard," Warner said. "Nothing I heard that indicated that at all."
Musburger said he never doubted Vermeil could come back, even after a 14-year absence. He said talk that the game might have passed Vermeil by angered him, because of the coach's preparation as a TV analyst.
"He's the only analyst I ever worked with who actually could have coached either team on a Saturday afternoon," Musburger said. "From that standpoint, I was glad he went back."
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