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Rivera, Caldwell Expected To Interview This Week
IRVING, Texas - Now that the Super Bowl and all of the weekend's festivities are history, the Cowboys can get back to the business of finding their next head coach.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who flew back to Dallas late Sunday after Super Bowl XLI, is expected to make a headfirst dive back into the coaching search this week.
While there have been reports the Cowboys could be close to making an announcement early this week, it might be closer to the end of the week before a final decision is made.
The Cowboys have already interviewed eight candidates and could meet with a pair of assistant coaches from the Super Bowl that were off-limits from contact before the game.
The Cowboys are expected to interview Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and Colts assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell this week, possibly as early as Tuesday and Wednesday.
Both coaches reportedly flew back to their respective cities Monday following the Colts' 29-17 win over Chicago Sunday night in Miami.
Rivera, a former NFL linebacker with the Bears for nine seasons (1984-92), has run Chicago's defense for the last three years.
"I think it's my time," Rivera told reporters following Sunday's loss to the Colts. "I will see how it unfolds. I have done what I needed to do. It's up to the owners and what they want. We will see what happens."
Since his contract will officially expire on Feb. 20, Rivera could ultimately end up in Dallas as the defensive coordinator, if he doesn't land the head coaching job. However, the Cowboys can meet with Rivera only about the head coaching position until Feb. 20. That is unless the Bears decide to grant the Cowboys permission to speak with Rivera about either position.
Caldwell has been Peyton Manning's quarterbacks coach the last five years in Indianapolis, after spending one year in Tampa Bay as the quarterback coach. Caldwell's only experience as a head coach came at Wake Forest, where he spent seven years with the Demon Deacons.
The Cowboys have already interviewed eight candidates to replace Bill Parcells, who announced his retirement on Jan. 22. Since then, Jones has met with four offensive-minded coaches and four with defensive backgrounds.
Of the eight, it appears only a handful, if that many, remain legitimate contenders.
Norv Turner, the current 49ers offensive coordinator who has nine years of NFL head coaching experience at Washington and Oakland, along with four other stints as offensive coordinator, including three years in Dallas from 1991-93, still seems to be one of the favorites.
Turner interviewed for the job on Jan. 28, ending a busy weekend that included interviews with Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.
Earlier that week, the Cowboys interviewed former quarterback Jason Garrett, who had spent the last two years as the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach. With Miami only giving the Cowboys and Garrett a short time to make a decision, the Cowboys hired him to the coaching staff in an undetermined role. While the Cowboys insist Garrett remains a candidate for the head coaching job, it's likely he will become the offensive coordinator if the Cowboys go in another direction.
Before bringing in Garrett, the Cowboys met with assistants Todd Bowles, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley, who has since left the staff to become offensive coordinator in Arizona.
Bowles and Sparano are two of only five assistants remaining from last year's staff, along with defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers and linebackers coaches Paul Pasqualoni and Vincent Brown.
Speaking of linebackers, the last player to interview with the Cowboys before Jones took a break from the search last Thursday was arguably one of the best linebackers in NFL history. The Cowboys spent all day last Tuesday with Mike Singletary, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who has spent the last two years as the 49ers' assistant head coach. Singletary only has four years of coaching experience, spending two years in Baltimore as the inside linebackers coach.
However, Singletary always was one of the NFL's most intense players and it appears he has brought that intensity to the sidelines as well. Before getting back into coaching, Singletary spent 10 years as a motivational speaker and even had similar responsibilities with the 49ers over the last two years.
After his interview in Dallas, Singletary said he only interviewed for the head coaching position and said he didn't anticipate coming to the Cowboys in any other role. While his official his title is assistant head coach/defense, he could possibly land the defensive coordinator position in Dallas, assuming San Francisco grants permission for him to speak with the Cowboys in a non-head coaching role.
The 49ers had a vacancy at defensive coordinator and did not interview Singletary for the position before finally settling on Greg Manusky. However, it appears Singletary remains one of the top candidates for the head coaching job in Dallas.
Last Wednesday, Jones said he would continue his coaching search after the Super Bowl and make the best decision rather than rush just to have a coach in place.
"I feel very good. We've spent a lot of time and I know our fans expect me to and you expect me to, and we've spent a lot of time in each interview," Jones said last week. "And I've been very thorough and they've been very thorough with me. I like good feedback from when I'm talking to an individual about where he's been and where he's going. So all of that I'm very pleased with. I feel very comfortable with where we are. But if I can I don't want to leave a stone unturned here."
Even if it means turning a few more of those stones this week.