No showdown yet

Dennis Erickson's big and consequential meeting Monday with 49ers owner John York wasn't so big and consequential after all. However, the issues they'll be discussing in a few weeks still are. For the moment, Erickson said, "I'm going to coach until they don't want me here any more, and they can tell me that." But is that day of reckoning very far away?

Nothing about the future status of Erickson or his assistant coaches was resolved Monday morning, but then again, those subjects weren't the topic of conversation in Erickson's weekly meeting with the team owner. Despite prevalent rumors that a showdown was imminent, Erickson appeared for his Monday media conference wearing shorts and sandals and declared that everything is status quo.

For now, at least.

"Yeah, I had my meeting with John," Erickson said. "It wasn't really any different than any other meeting that I have with him. At the end of the year, we'll all get together – him, I and Terry (Donahue) – and talk about everything. Personnel, coaches and everything – but we'll basically do that at the end of the year."

Erickson avoided questions regarding comments York had made after Sunday's overtime win against Arizona – when the owner said, "I don't think it would be possible to have all of (Erickson's assistants) back" next year – by reiterating that "we'll discuss that at the end when the year is over."

When SFI asked Erickson if he'd be flexible with only a few changes to his staff – Erickson has said firmly that he is "tied" to his assistants and plans to stand by them – the coach said, "That is something that we have to discuss. Right now, I just want to get through this season and try to win the last three football games."

Erickson's future could indeed be tied to those assistants, but he said reports that a possible conflict on those issues could come to a head Monday was greatly exaggerated. "There isn't any specifics as far as this coach or that coach or anything like that," Erickson said. "There really isn't at this time. Everything that I felt had to happen as far as assistants and myself had to be done at the end of the season. When the season is over, we will discuss the assistant coaches. And, obviously, me. That's how it's done. In my conversations with John and Terry, I'll be the coach here next year. I just assume when they say they want me back, that they want me back."

The pertinent question is whether Erickson really wants to be back, or if he instead really wants to get fired and take the money and run to a college job such as the vacant head-coaching position at the University of Mississippi.

ESPN reported Sunday that Erickson was a "secret" candidate for that job, and Erickson said Monday – after he jokingly was asked how the flight back from Oxford, Mississippi was – "I didn't realize there were straight flights, that you could get in and get out so fast."

Turning serious, Erickson refuted those reports and said he has not been contacted by that university. "That came out yesterday with Chris Mortensen," he said. "He has some really interesting deals. They (ESPN) came out with me going to Washington a couple of weeks ago (Washington has hired Tyrone Willingham as its head coach)."

When asked if the Mississippi position was something he would consider, Erickson turned back to the old reliable, "Right now, really my concern is playing the Redskins on Saturday," response.

But he also slipped in at the end, "I mean, everybody has to look at options."

You just know that Erickson is looking at all of his, even if he didn't have to turn to any new ones Monday.

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