Even as the "retired" Bill Parcells mulls the possibility of becoming the New Orleans' Saints' one-year interim head coach -- no decision had yet been made as this column was filed Friday morning -- sources said that New Orleans officials and The Tuna were bouncing around alternative ideas on how the iconic coach could still be involved and remain only an ex-officio member of the staff.
Perhaps as a consultant or in some other part-time position. The kicker is that, as reported by The Sports Xchange and other media outlets during the week, the five-year waiting period for
Hall of Fame eligibility will be reset to zero for Parcells if he accepts the position as Payton's interim replacement.
Payton'S Friday appeal of his punishment likely buys the sides more time, but the NFL has promised to expedite the appeals process.
Parcells will be 71 in August and, if he returned to the sideline, would not be eligible for Hall of Fame induction until age 76.
There will not be, Hall of Fame officials confirmed to The Sports Xchange, any exemptions made for Parcells or any changes in the bylaws mandating the five-year period for coaches.
It would be hyperbole to characterize Parcells as "obsessed" with his Hall of Fame legacy when he was a finalist in February. But as a Hall selector, this columnist was contacted by several Parcells associates this year in an effort to gauge his standing.
That's part of the reason that parties involved with the Parcells courtship in New Orleans are attempting to discern if there are any loopholes.
As for the "Rooney Rule" implications of hiring Parcells, league officials confirmed at the meetings this week that the Saints can talk freely to the longtime coach about a job, but will still have to interview a minority candidate.
Such an interview would be a sham -- since Parcells has already been determined as the interim coach New Orleans prefers -- and might draw some scrutiny from the league, but would still fly.
Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange. He has
covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall
of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the
winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.
Is Parcells The Man in New Orleans?
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