Bates just says 'no'

Coordinator, McCarthy 'take the high road' in parting ways

New Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said today that defensive coordinator Jim Bates and the team have agreed to part ways, leaving the Packers in a hunt to find their fourth coordinator to lead the defense in four years.

McCarthy and Bates met Sunday, then spoke some more today. McCarthy offered Bates the opportunity to lead Green Bay's defense, which ranked No. 7 in the league in yards allowed this season, but Bates declined the offer in same fashion as he declined to lead Miami's defense this past year under Nick Saban.

"I want to give Mike the opportunity to pick those guys that he has worked with over the years and built relationships with," Bates said. "I didn't want to step in his way and be 100 percent committed to do what I need to do as defensive coordinator.

"It's best for me and it's best for Mike."

Bates, known for his enthusiastic approach with players, came to Green Bay from Miami last year after he did not get the head coaching job for the Dolphins. Saban also offered him a chance to remain in Miami as defensive coordinator, but he said he declined for the same reasons as he declined McCarthy's offer.

Bates said he was "very disappointed" that he was denied the head coaching job in Green Bay, and feels it will be best for him to move on.

"It was a tough, tough deal for me to go through," Bates said. "It's happened now two years and we've had an excellent run the last five years in Miami. We had a great run as far as being the interim head coach. Guys played at a high level, so I went through that disappointment. This is a major disappointment. I wouldn't be telling you like it is if I didn't have remorse."

The Packers were ranked 23rd against the run and first against the pass. Green Bay also finished the year ninth in yards per play, eighth in sacks per pass play, ninth in third-down efficiency, tied for 19th in points per game and 22nd in red zone efficiency.

"I just wanted to make sure we did this with class because of the job that Jim has done since he has been here," said McCarthy, who called an impromtu press conference late this afternoon. "We want to wish Jim the best from the Green Bay Packers organization. I just can't say enough about the conversations that we did have. They were very positive, very open. We both feel that we're going to go in a different direction.

"I think it's important, very important, that everybody realize that we're both taking the high road on this because I have excellent respect for the man. I've enjoyed his honesty, his openness."

Bates said that he still wants to be a head coach in the National Football League. Since he returned from a get-away weekend with his wife, Beverly, in Kohler to think things over, he has received a number of calls from other teams, though, he declined to name any. Last year, he received seven offers and chose Green Bay.

"Coaching in this franchise was a great honor for me," Bates said. "Every football coach that ever coaches should have the opportunity of coming through Green Bay and feel the passion that these people, the fans, that's what makes Green Bay special. Not having an owner, the way Green Bay is structured, will always be one of the richest thoughts that I'll ever have as far as having an opportunity to be part of the Green Bay Packers organization."

Meanwhile, McCarthy has been phoning coaches around the league to interview for defensive coordinator. He also said that he will not rule out any current staff members to lead the defense.

Bates is proud of how his staff and players responded this season to taking a defense that was ranked 25th in the league in yards allowed to seventh this season.

"This defense didn't have much confidence, and we challenged the defense that we were going to build a foundation and we were going to be sound in our techniques and fundamentals, and they answered the bell," Bates said. "I could be more proud of the group that was picked to finish so low to finish so high."

Bates succeeded Bob Slowik, who coordinated the defense in 2004. Ed Donatell led the defense from 2000-03 before he was fired by Mike Sherman. Donatell is currently defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and Slowik is defensive backs coach for the Denver Broncos.

McCarthy hired Jeff Jagodzinski as offensive coordinator on Sunday. He said he will continue to form his staff throughout the week.


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