Parcells staying with Cowboys
Friday, January 6th 2006, 9:25 pm
By: News On 6
IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Bill Parcells is coming back for at least one more season with the Dallas Cowboys _ and maybe even two.
The team announced Friday that Parcells agreed to a new contract through the 2007 season.
``I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue what we have started here,'' Parcells said in a news release. ``The Cowboys organization has been the fairest of fair to me, and hopefully I can repay them with an improved performance.''
Parcells, 64, had a year left on the four-year, $17 million contract he signed in January 2003. However, he left his three previous coaching jobs mid-contract and there was speculation he might do it again.
The question diminished as this week went on and Parcells continued showing up at his office every day. Still, the announcement helps turn attention back to what the club will do to continue the turnaround that saw them go 9-7 after being 6-10 the previous year.
``This is about continuity and building upon the pieces we have in place as an organization and as a football team,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. ``We aren't where we want to be at this point, but we're definitely moving in the right direction and feel very good about the future.''
The Cowboys are 25-24 under Parcells, counting the postseason. Over his 18-year career, he's 163-123-1, good for ninth on the career win list, with two Super Bowl wins.
In three years with the Cowboys, Parcells has enhanced his reputation as a turnaround specialist, but he still has plenty to accomplish _ starting with winning a playoff game.
``As I have said for the past three years, I am encouraged by Bill's enthusiasm and determination, and that hasn't changed in any way,'' Jones said. ``From a personal perspective I have enjoyed every aspect of our working relationship, and I am optimistic about the organization's future.''
With Parcells' status settled, now the Cowboys must await to figure out who will be on his staff. Sean Payton, the passing game coordinator and assistant head coach, is a candidate for the head coaching jobs in Green Bay and New Orleans, and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is up for the St. Louis job.
As for the roster, Dallas will have to decide about whether to keep several veterans who are due roster bonuses. The Cowboys likely will be on the hunt for several starters in free agency, and they have the 18th pick in the draft.
Parcells arrived in Dallas three years ago this week, taking over a club coming off three straight five-win seasons.
He won 10 games and made the playoffs right away, but lost to Carolina in a wild-card game. After the worst second season of any of his coaching stops, he rededicated himself for '05, restructuring the team more to his liking and seeing immediate results.
The Cowboys were 7-3 and first in the NFC East, then stumbled to a 2-4 finish. They were eliminated from the playoffs about an hour before their finale.
Afterward, Parcells said he needed time to decide whether to return. He's maintained that his health is fine, other than slipping from his workout regimen during the final month of the season. The first media report that he was considering retirement linked it to the November death of his younger brother, Don, after a long bout with cancer.
``Listen, the NFL season at best is a tiring process,'' Parcells said last week. ``When you've been going every day since July 29, every single day, it's tiring for me. I don't know what it is for the other guys. When I see them on Sunday, they all look tired, too.''
Parcells guided the New York Giants to Super Bowl titles after the 1986 and '90 seasons, then got the New England Patriots there in '96 and the New York Jets to the AFC championship in '98. He became the first coach to get four teams into the playoffs after making it with Dallas in 2003.
The future seems bright for the Cowboys.
Running back Julius Jones and tight end Jason Witten are building blocks on offense, and the defense _ which Parcells switched to a 3-4 scheme last offseason _ is loaded with talented young players: safety Roy Williams, cornerback Terence Newman, linebacker DeMarcus Ware and linemen Marcus Spears and Chris Canty.
Parcells also has a core of players he relies on after having coached them on previous teams: quarterback Drew Bledsoe, receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, defensive lineman Jason Ferguson and cornerback Aaron Glenn.