Tom Coughlin's farewell news conference was inspiring and pitch-perfect a day after he stepped down as Giants coach. It was meticulous and well-prepared. It was curmudgeonly, but gracious. It was all the things that Coughlin has been for the Giants organization over the past 12 seasons.
But it would not be pure Coughlin without a bit of defiance. And after a miniature rant about the state of injuries in the NFL and a joke aimed at the organization for their attempts to revamp the sports science department, Coughlin was asked if his passion for coaching had been extinguished.
"Not necessarily," Coughlin said.
He was asked specifically if he would coach next year if the right opportunity came along.
"I didn't say that, I just said I'm not necessarily done with coaching," he said. "Thank you very much for asking."
His words jibe with what sources told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Monday, that Coughlin would evaluate his options and possibly consider coaching again. Coughlin joked that his wife, Judy, probably won't want him home much, anyway.
The declaration sets up a very interesting situation in New York. Coughlin knows that he wants to remain in football, and perhaps he didn't "step down" as easily as others might think. The Giants know that Coughlin is still an extremely valuable scout with loads of institutional knowledge, and would potentially like him to come back in an advisory role on the personnel side.
"When (co-owner Steve Tisch) and I talked to him yesterday, I asked him if he would consider staying on in some capacity," Giants co-owner John Mara said. "I don't want to let all that knowledge walk out the door. I asked him to think about it over the next few days, ways that he might be able to help us going forward.
"He agreed to do that and I don't think either one of us have an idea yet exactly what form that might take. But let's face it, he brings a unique perspective. He knows our team as well as anybody, he knows the league as well as anybody, and there may be some capacity in which he could help. This is not a situation where we wanted to see him walk out the door. We want him to stay involved because of everything he's brought to this organization and everything he could still possibly do at some point in the future."
Mara has said in the past that Coughlin worked hand in hand with the personnel department and watched just as much film as many of the scouts on staff. Because there is a media charge to revamp the scouting department, and another charge foolishly advocating for the ouster of their general manager, this could be a move that pacifies everyone involved -- unless Coughlin wants more.
Hearing him speak Tuesday, it was clear that Coughlin has not lost an ounce of passion for the game, and there are teams out there with veteran players that could give the 69 year old a call. This coach hiring season just got a lot more interesting.