Jori Epstein, USA TODAY
Published 11: 13 a.m. ET Dec. 10, 2019 | Updated 1: 08 p.m. ET Dec. 10, 2019
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to clarify: He’s not ruling out potential interest in Urban Meyer.
Jones was asked Tuesday morning whether he and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones had met with the former Ohio State, Florida and Utah coach as speculation heats up about Jason Garrett’s job security.
“That’s not correct,” Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “I can confirm that it is absolutely not correct. We have not met with any coach. We have not met with any coach, not met with any.”
Jones was careful to note that “in answering that question, I don’t want to imply that we wouldn’t in a way that would diminish the credibility of a player or somebody you’re asking about.”
The Cowboys take a 6-7 record into a home matchup this week with the Los Angeles Rams. Despite Dallas’ losing record, it remains atop the NFC East. Philadelphia improved to 6-7 with a win Monday over the Giants, but Dallas has the tiebreaker after winning the first meeting between the rivals in Week 7. The teams face off on Dec. 22.
Garrett, the Cowboys’ head coach for the last decade, is in the final year of his contract. Jones said last week that Garrett “will be coaching in the NFL next year.” Now, Jones chose not to discount a pursuit of Urban Meyer to succeed Garrett.
“Normally when someone says ‘Have you met with such and such?’ ‘Are you interested in such and such?’ the implication is you’re not interested,” Jones said. “That shouldn’t be brought forward either.
“The facts are we just have not talked to any coach—potential coach in the NFL.”
Meyer won two national championships with Florida and a third at Ohio State before retiring after the 2018 season. He dealt with health problems and served a three-game a suspension following Ohio State’s investigation of his handling of allegations of domestic abuse involving one of his former assistant coaches.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns on Meyer’s 2014 Ohio State championship team. He’s one of four current Cowboys who played for Meyer’s Buckeyes.
The Cowboys have lost seven of their last 10 contest after opening the season 3-0. After a 31-24 loss to Chicago on Thursday, Jones confirmed Garrett—and all coaches who are healthy enough to coach—would keep their jobs for the following week.
But tensions escalated the next morning when he lashed out at radio hosts who asked if the team was embarrassed. Jones reiterated Tuesday morning that he believes his team has the talent, fire and health to turn its season around. He also restated his reasoning for serving as both owner and general manager, an organizational structure that Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman criticized several times last week.
“I’ve always thought when you can cut out the person between the decision maker and the people doing the recommending, you can make quicker, more succinct and more responsive decisions,” Jones said. “There has never been any doubt in anybody’s mind how I run the Dallas Cowboys and how I ran the Cowboys from the day I got here.”
The Cowboys haven’t reached a conference championship game since the 1995 season. Jerry Jones has retained the title of general manager, though Stephen Jones and Will McClay have played substantial roles in personnel decisions.
Jones added that “since Day 1, we have made decisions on a contributed basis from key people, whether it be Jimmy Johnson when he first got here, whether we included Troy Aikman in the decision or not. But ultimately that’s called input and ultimately somebody has to break ties if somebody disagrees. That’s my job.
“In pro football, the guy who ultimately has any responsibility for paying the bills makes the decisions.”
Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.