14 Teams, each keep 14 players QB: P. Manning, Schaub RB: MJD, Westy, C. Johnson, A. Bradshaw, J. Ringer WR: TO, Driver, J. Gage, Crabtree, J. Morgan, K. Curtis, E. Bennett, M. Sims-Walker TE: Witten, M. Lewis K: Gostkowski, J. Brown D/ST: Tenn, NE
No Thanks Garrett Turns Down Offers, Returns To Cowboys Nick Eatman - Email DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer January 17, 2008 6:31 PM
IRVING, Texas - It didn't take an interview with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday for Jason Garrett to know where his heart was.
And another interview in Atlanta the following day didn't change his mind, either.
While Garrett said both meetings with the Falcons and Ravens about their head coaching vacancies were "great visits," none of them likely compared to the feeling he said he experienced on Monday of this week, when he met with the Cowboys' offensive players.
It was then, Garrett said, when he probably realized he wasn't ready to leave the Cowboys.
And sure enough, he's not.
Garrett has turned down reported offers to become head coach in Baltimore and Atlanta and has decided to return to the Cowboys next season.
With that comes a new title. The Cowboys named Garrett assistant head coach along with his offensive coordinator duties.
Garrett fills the role left behind by Tony Sparano, who was named head coach of the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.
But Garrett also received more than a title, getting a reported salary raise in the $3 million per year neighborhood.
That was the reported price range the Ravens and Falcons were offering Garrett to become head coach. Instead, Garrett is now making the same as Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, although a pay raise of his own could be in order, especially after a 13-3 regular-season record in his first season as head coach.
While Garrett received quite a bump in salary, he didn't say he was offered anything more from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, like a handshake deal or promise that he would some day replace Phillips as the Cowboys' coach.
But apparently, he didn't need that to come back to the Cowboys.
"The last few days have been an interesting experience for me and for my wife Brill," Garrett said. "We told ourselves that we wanted to go through the process and fully investigate these opportunities. Mr. Jones and Wade Phillips graciously allowed us to do that, and once we got through that process and as we got back to Dallas fairly late last night, came to a conclusion that for a variety reasons this is the best place for us."
Garrett genuinely thanked both Jones and Phillips - still appreciative of the Cowboys owner for not only their relationship when Garrett was a player from 1993-99, but Jones' confidence to hire Garrett last year as the offensive coordinator despite only two years of coaching experience.
Garrett described Phillips "as fine as a guy I have met in football and in life," and said working on his staff has bee enjoyable, just like the players say it's fun to play for him.
But Garrett has his own special relationship with the players as well, and that was something he realized even more when he met them the day after the Cowboys' 21-17 playoff loss to the Giants.
"As I reflected back on the last three days, and I didn't know it at the time, I think I might have made this decision as I was standing in front of our offensive team on Monday after we lost to the Giants," Garrett said. "There were some things that I wanted to say to them about how fortunate I felt to be one of their coaches and to be coaching with some of the guys in the room, and it was really hard for me to get through it. It was really hard. I stopped a number of times, but I was persistent because I wanted to get these thoughts out to these guys in the room and how much I respected them and how much I appreciated them.
"And when I reflect back on these past few days, I think that meeting told me maybe more than anything else that I needed to know about my feelings about this place. My feelings about this place, because of my time here in the past and because of what we can be in the future, but maybe more than anything else is what we are right now."
And with Garrett leading the way this year, the Cowboys' offense was one of the best in the NFL, ranking third in total offense, averaging 365.7 yards per game.
Despite question marks about his lack of previous coaching experience - two years as Dolphins quarterbacks coach - Garrett proved most of his critics wrong by spearheading a Cowboys offense that set all kinds of team and individual records this season.
"This year was a special year for me, and Brill, and I feel like because of this and because of the way we feel about this group of people that this is the right place for us going forward and we're excited about the prospects for the Cowboys in the future," Garrett said. "There's some great people in this organization and it starts at the top and works it way down through our head coach and the other coaches that I have the good fortune of working with, and it filters down to our players."
One of the players likely happy to see Garrett return is quarterback Tony Romo, who broke nearly all of the Cowboys' single-season passing records this year, passing for 4,211 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Garrett said he spoke on the phone Thursday with Romo, who tried to get him to play in a pickup basketball game later in the afternoon.
Jones likely didn't ask the same favor from Garrett, but clearly was excited to have him returning for another year.
"We're thrilled that Jason will be with the team in 2008 and moving forward," Jones said. "We believe that what we accomplished in 2007 is just the beginning of many productive years ahead. His vision and direction on the offensive side of the ball will only help us improve and help us get to where we want to be."
Phillips echoed those remarks, stating the importance of Garrett's role with the offense.
"Having Jason back is great. It's a real positive for our team," Phillips added. "From a coaching perspective, I don't think you can emphasize enough how important continuity is to a football team. We will be able to operate throughout the entire off-season, and into training camp, with both coordinators returning. That familiarity allows us to build upon what we were able to teach last year and puts us so far ahead of where we were at this time a year ago. The players learned and accepted two new philosophies on both sides of the ball last year. We will now be able to build upon that."
Whether or not Garrett becoming a head coach is in the near future, he seems in no hurry to get there. Especially as long as he has his current job, with his current coaches and players around him.
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
beanoX3 wrote:I'd be kind of salty if I was Wade Phillips.
Nah, he knows that everyday he still has a job there is like Christmas.
really though, Wade has no pull in teh situation, I think he's lucky to still have his job, and he certainly doesnt deserve to be paid more then the 3 million that he's getting paid...he could of easily went to being another DC somewhere this year, so im pretty sure he's happy to just be around another year
After Marty got fired after 14 wins that let people know its all about playoffs
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