- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- if there is one thing that drives Rod Marinelli it is loyalty.
From 2009-12 he was the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator. When the Bears decided to part ways with Lovie Smith, Marinelli decided to part ways with the Bears. It was both personal and business.
The Bears' loss was the Dallas Cowboys' gain. Marinelli is the most over-qualified defensive line coach in the NFL.
It has not been easy for Marinelli. On the first day of training camp he lost Tyrone Crawford for the season due to a torn Achilles. The first time he sees Jay Ratliff play in 2013 could be against the Cowboys on Dec. 9. Anthony Spencer played in just one game before undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee.
And the Cowboys have had an assembly line of defensive linemen come and go throughout the season.
In Chicago, Marinelli had a lineup that was largely set over the years.
When he spoke with the media during the Cowboys bye week, Marinelli said he had not thought much about the Bears.
“I'll say this, he was one of my very best friends,” Marinelli said of Smith. “I went there because of him, not for any other reason. We had a long tenure together and I believe in him. I've started this thing off about my beliefs, being old fashioned or whatever, I have a strong belief in what he believes in and I liked it. For me, it's got to be that or I struggle. I never want to not do it with all my heart. For me, that was Lovie's defense.”