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Monday, February 5, 2007
Cowboys owner deliberate about coach decision

ESPN.com news services

The Dallas Cowboys will not hire a replacement for Bill Parcells until at least Wednesday, and the search for the seventh coach in franchise history will likely stretch to the end of the week, team owner Jerry Jones told ESPN's Ed Werder on Monday.

The delay comes in part because the Cowboys want to comply with league rules prohibiting tampering. Identifying prospective interview subjects before obtaining permission to speak with them can be interpreted as a violation of the rules and result in forfeiture of draft choices. Jones, then, would not reveal candidates he still wants to interview. ESPN's Chris Mortensen confirmed Sunday morning, however, that Jones will interview Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell.

Some around the league have told Werder that they believe the Cowboys have already decided to hire Norv Turner but that Jones is deliberating keeping the position vacant so he can interview Rivera, who is under exclusive contract to the Bears for another two weeks even though the season has concluded.

Under the rules, the Bears cannot prevent the Cowboys from interviewing Rivera for their head-coaching position but could restrict him from discussing a lateral move to Dallas as defensive coordinator.

During Super Bowl week, Rivera conceded he would consider the lateral move to Dallas to enhance his future opportunities to become a head coach because of the perception that Chicago's success on defense is the work of head coach Lovie Smith. The Bears have also acknowledged that they will have to substantially improve Smith's contract, which is the NFL's lowest for a head coach, and that they probably will not be able to compete financially with the Cowboys should they decide to pursue Rivera.

Rivera returned to Chicago with the Bears following the Super Bowl and told Werder that it is his understanding that the Cowboys are seeking permission to interview him for their head coaching vacancy. He considers that process a formality and expects to interview in Dallas within the next two days.

Jones declined to confirm that he has asked the Colts for permission to interview Caldwell.

Meanwhile, Turner spent much of Super Bowl weekend in Miami with Jones and other Cowboys officials. He remains the front-runner for the job.