PALM BEACH, Fla. - Should longtime NFL coach Bill Parcells come out of retirement to lead the New Orleans Saints in 2012, as suggested by an ESPN report on Monday, a return to the game would delay his eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame executive director Steve Perry told
The Sports Xchange on Monday that the five-year waiting period for
eligibility into the Canton, Ohio, shrine would be negated by Parcells'
possible return. The five-year period mandated by Hall of Fame bylaws
would not begin again until Parcells retired.
Essentially, the five-year waiting period would
Might that be enough to dissuade Parcells from
taking over the Saints and replacing Sean Payton for the 2012 season?
Perhaps not. But this much is known: More so than in his previous
occasions as a Hall of Fame finalist, Parcells was driven this year by
the potential for enshrinement.
ESPN reported Monday that Payton had discussed
with Parcells the possibility of coaching the Saints for 2012. Payton
last week was suspended for the entire season by the league for his
involvement in the "Bountygate" scandal. Payton once served as
assistant head coach in Dallas when Parcells was the Cowboys' head
coach, and the two are close friends.
Parcells has denied the report.
One of 15 modern-day finalists in February,
Parcells, 70, was not elected to the Hall of Fame. He survived the
cutdown from 15 to 10 candidates, but not in the reduction from 10 to
the final contingent of five modern-day finalists.
In the days preceding the Feb. 4 vote, friends and
associates of Parcells made a strong effort to determine his viability
as a candidate. Those associates stopped short of describing Parcells
as being obsessed with entry into the Hall of Fame, but allowed he was
more interested this year than in the past.
Parcells was a finalist for the Hall of Fame in
2001 and 2002, and, obviously, was not elected on either occasion. At
the time, the five-year eligibility rule did not include coaches, only
players. A coach, at that time, could retire and immediately be
eligible for induction.
This year was the first in which Parcells was
eligible under the revised rules.
Parcells coached four franchises during his long
tenure on the sidelines, and retired as a coach following the 2006
season in Dallas.
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