"The job is very appealing," Parcells told CNNSI's Peter King. "I just cannot make the commitment necessary to do the job."
Tampa Bay's ownership fired Tony Dungy on Jan. 14 after the Bucs were crushed by the Eagles, 31-9, for the second consecutive time in the opening round of the playoffs, and they have been in hot pursuit of Parcells ever since. But one source told Buccaneer Magazine on Friday evening that Dungy might have been retained as the Bucs' head coach if the Glazers thought Parcells was going to change his mind about coaching the Buccaneers.
"In our continued pursuit of a championship, we remain confident that our new coach will utilize the solid foundation that we have built to achieve our goals" said Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer.
This is not the first time Parcells left Tampa Bay at the altar. After the 1991 season, Parcells was offered the head-coaching job by then-owner Hugh Culverhouse, but he turned it down. Parcells later had a change of heart and wanted the job again, but Culverhouse denied Parcells the opportunity and named Sam Wyche as head coach.
"I'm shocked," said one source deep inside Tampa Bay's organization. "But he (Parcells) did this to us before."
One strong indication that Parcells might not take Tampa Bay's head coaching job came early on Friday when New York Jets assistant general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who interviewed for Tampa Bay's general manager position on Thursday, told Jets' general manager Terry Bradway he had decided to stay with New York.
Buccaneer Magazine learned through a source on Friday that the Glazers and Parcells had reached a tentative agreement on a contract six weeks ago, but something must have obviously shaken things up during the last week in order to keep Parcells off of the Buccaneers' sideline.
Parcells might have had second thoughts about returning to coaching for several reasons. First, the National Football League warned the Buccaneers and Parcells that an investigation would be conducted in regards to any possible tampering that might have taken place while Parcells had reportedly started to put a coaching staff together for his expected return to the NFL. The NFL takes tampering seriously and they do not tolerate current or former coaches to communicate with coaches who are under contract or participating in the playoffs with other teams.
If the NFL found Parcells and Tampa Bay's ownership had indeed tampered, they would have been subject to fines and might have even lost one or more draft picks.
Parcells was also recently among 15 finalists announced Thursday for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If Parcells had taken the head coaching job at Tampa Bay, he would have no longer been eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame this year.
While "The Tuna" is free to swim the waters of retirement forever, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are left scrambling for another head coach. The Buccaneers were so certain Parcells would accept their offer to become Tampa Bay's new head coach that they didn't even bother to put together a backup plan.
"There's no second choice," said the source deep inside Tampa Bay's organization. "This will definitely go down in Tampa Bay Buccaneers lore."
While Tampa Bay doesn't appear to have any other coaches to fall back on, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Norv Turner and Louisiana State University head coach Nick Saban might become popular candidates in the next few days. Former Washington Redskins head coach Marty Schottenheimer and former Dallas and Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson may also be considered.
If you think Parcells is bluffing and might still be interested in coaching with the Bucs or in the NFL again one day, his comments on Friday night certainly don't support that theory.
"I just want to stay retired," Parcells told SI's King. "I hope that convinces everybody that I'm not coming back. Because I'm not. This is it. I'm staying retired. The demands of the job and what it what take for me to succeed were just too much."
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