Parcells no longer a candidate with Falcons

ATLANTA -- Despite reaching an agreement with the Atlanta Falcons to become the team's vice president of football operations, Bill Parcells has turned down the offer and instead is considering a similar position with the Miami Dolphins.

"Late last night it was revealed to the media by a source outside the Falcons that we were close to reaching an agreement with Bill Parcells to lead the club's football operations," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said is a statement released to the media Wednesday afternoon.

"Prior to the information becoming public, we had reached an agreement in principle with Parcells, and we met with him this morning to complete the contract. At that time, we were made aware by Parcells that he was considering a revised offer from the Miami Dolphins. He later informed us that he would not be signing a contract with us.

"We remain committed to looking at every option for building a championship-caliber team for our fans. I have stated we will leave no stone unturned in doing so, and this effort is one example of that. We gave it our best shot, and it didn't work out."

The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Parcells was on the verge of accepting the Falcons' offer, with only a few minor details to be worked out. In a story on its Web site, the paper said a deal could be completed later in the day with Blank.

"I think I probably will do it," said Parcells, whose first priority with the Falcons would have been to hire a new head coach. "The job description is to be the football operations overseer. We still have a little work to do, but I don't think it's anything major. I don't expect any real deal-breaker. I don't think there will be any major hangups."

Emmitt Thomas is 0-1 as Atlanta's interim head coach, a job he inherited when Bobby Petrino resigned suddenly a week ago. Petrino went 3-10 with the Falcons before taking the Arkansas job.

"We will continue down the same overall path, proceeding with plans to hire a general manager and a head coach," Blank said. "We will identify and consider every strongly viable candidate for these positions, with the goal of hiring the best. Rich McKay remains president of the club and will retain general manager responsibilities until a new GM is hired."

Parcells resigned in January after four years as the Dallas coach. During a 19-year career that also included coaching the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets, Parcells made it to three Super Bowls, winning twice with the Giants.

Known best for a gruff demeanor and colorful quotes, Parcells left coaching with the ninth-most wins in NFL history and a career record of 183-138-1. He was 34-32 in Dallas, including 0-2 in the postseason.

"I am in good health and feel lucky to have been able to coach in the NFL for an extended period of time," Parcells said when he left the Cowboys. "I leave the game and the NFL with nothing but good feelings and gratitude to all the players, coaches and other people that have assisted me in that regard."

In 1991 and 2002, Parcells was offered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job. After indicating he would take the job both times, he backed out at the last minute.

In 1996, before the Bucs hired Tony Dungy as a first-time NFL head coach, Tampa Bay owner Malcolm Glazer considered bringing Parcells aboard. McKay, then the Buccaneers general manager, told the Glazer family that he would resign if Parcells took the job.

With the Falcons, McKay recommended that Blank hire Jim Mora, whose fiery demeanor led to his firing last January despite a 26-22 record, and Petrino, who abruptly left the team to return to college last week.

Under McKay and Mora, Atlanta advanced to the NFC title game in the 2004 season, but the Falcons have gone 18-28 while missing the playoffs for three straight years.

Atlanta, which has never had consecutive winning seasons in its 42-year history, played before many empty seats at the Georgia Dome this season.

A federal indictment of three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick led to a 23-month prison sentence imposed last week.

Blank, a co-founder and former CEO of The Home Depot, paid $545 million for the Falcons in a deal that closed in February 2002.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

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