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Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Bears' Rivera interviews with Cowboys

ESPN.com news services

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera left his six-hour meeting at Valley Ranch with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones feeling very positive about his performance, ESPN's Ed Werder reported late Tuesday night.

Quick glance: Cowboys' search
Dallas Cowboys
Coaches who have interviewed for the Cowboys' head coaching job since Bill Parcells retired on Jan 22:

• Wade Phillips, Chargers' defensive coordinator
• Norv Turner, 49ers' offensive coordinator
• Ron Rivera, Bears' defensive coordinator
• Jim Caldwell, Colts' assistant head coach/QB coach
• Jason Garrett, Dolphins' QB coach*
• Mike Singletary, 49ers' assistant head coach
• Gary Gibbs, Saints' defensive coordinator
• Todd Bowles, Cowboys' secondary coach
• Todd Haley, Cowboys' receivers coach
• Tony Sparano, Cowboys' assistant head coach/offensive line

* Has been hired to unspecified position on Cowboys' staff.

Rivera departed Dallas on a commercial flight to return to Chicago, saying he was uncertain when Jones would appoint the seventh head coach in Cowboys history. Jones is scheduled to conduct his 10th interview since Bill Parcells resigned when he meets with Colts assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell on Wednesday.

Jones has not had any of the interview subjects return for a second round of discussions. In addition to San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Jones has remained in frequent contact with San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Given that Caldwell will interview Wednesday, it appears doubtful that Jones will make an announcement before Thursday.

After sitting on the runway in Chicago for two hours because of poor weather, Rivera finally made it to Texas and then to Valley Ranch at about 5:30 p.m. ET to talk to the Cowboys about their vacant head coaching position.

"There's a vicious rumor going around that Chicago didn't want me to leave," Rivera joked about the delay.

The Cowboys obtained permission Tuesday morning from the Bears to interview Rivera as a potential head coach. Dressed in a Cowboys blue suit and tie, Rivera made it clear he wasn't interested in the defensive coordinator position.

"I'm not here to discuss that," he said defiantly upon arrival. "I'm here to discuss being the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys."

Asked if he thought interviewing this late in the process might hurt his chances, Rivera said he thought the fact Jones waited until after the Super Bowl "bodes well" for him.

Clayton: Wade-ing
John Clayton
Norv Turner and Ron Rivera are all the rage, but Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is not out of the picture, John Clayton writes. Blog Insider

He did say that he wasn't married to running the same 4-3 defensive scheme that the Bears used and that the Cowboys personnel is versatile enough to run a 3-4 or 4-3.

After taking questions for six minutes, Rivera was escorted to his interview with Jerry Jones and son Stephen, a team vice president and director of player personnel.

Meanwhile, a Colts source said that Caldwell would be unlikely to accept a position in Dallas with Jason Garrett already hired to lead the offensive coaching staff, because Caldwell has no experience coaching with him.

This is the fourth head coaching position for which Rivera has interviewed this offseason, and a source close to him said he is confident he can win the job.

Turner -- believed to be the front-runner to replace Parcells -- first brought Rivera to Jones' attention when, during his own interview at Valley Ranch, he recommended Rivera as his defensive coordinator of choice should he become the seventh head coach in Cowboys history.

Sources told ESPN.com's Matt Mosley one of the holdups to Turner's candidacy is that he doesn't think Garrett is ready to be an offensive coordinator. Garrett interviewed for the head coaching position almost two weeks ago, but he's been expected to be named the offensive coordinator.

Jones would like for Garrett to take on some of the play-calling reponsibilities, but sources said Turner doesn't think he's ready. Turner is a fan of Garrett's, but may be leaning toward naming Cowboys assistant head coach/offensive line Tony Sparano the offensive coordinator and using Garrett in a different role.

Earlier in the interview process, Turner said he'd have no problem having Garrett on his staff. In fact, Turner tried getting Garrett on his staff in Oakland.

"That tells you a little something about how I feel about Jason," Turner said.

Jones has said he will not name a head coach until Wednesday at the earliest.

Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN. Matt Mosley covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.