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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Bill Parcells could be back again

Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells during a football

Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells during a football game against the Washington Redskins. (Sept. 17, 2006) Photo Credit: AP

Shortly after the Jets completed an 8-8 season in 1999, Bill Parcells stood before reporters at a news conference inside Hofstra University's Weeb Ewbank Hall and announced his retirement.

"Write it on your chalkboard, fellas," he said. "I've coached my last game."

Here's the thing with writing on a chalkboard: It's very easily erased.

In 2003, Parcells returned to the sideline to coach the Dallas Cowboys before retiring again after the 2006 season. He insisted -- again -- that he was done coaching.

Here we are six years later, and it looks as if the 70-year-old Parcells is on the verge of returning again. While Saints coach Sean Payton awaits the outcome of his appeal of a one-year suspension stemming from his involvement in the team's bounty program from 2009-11, Parcells appears ready to step in if asked.

"If [Payton] says to me, 'Bill, I need you to do this,' that's what friends are supposed to be for," Parcells said in an interview with Newsday this past week.

If Payton loses his appeal -- and an earlier reinstatement appears to be a long shot, given that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who meted out the suspension, is the one hearing the appeal -- there's a very good chance Parcells will come out of retirement for a third time.

That makes things interesting, to say the least. Parcells has been one of the league's most charismatic figures during the last three decades. His unique blend of strategic excellence and motivational brilliance and his gruff, Jersey-guy bully personality has made him a lightning rod wherever he's been.

Giants. Patriots. Jets. Cowboys. And it looks as though we're about to see him in New Orleans for one more run.

Bitter memories linger

John Harbaugh won't soon forget the Ravens' gut-wrenching 23-20 loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. In fact, the Ravens' coach might never fully get over the loss, in which Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining in regulation. Before the field-goal attempt, the Ravens had two potential touchdown passes broken up.

Asked the other day how long a loss like that will stick with him, Harbaugh said: "I think probably forever. It will be there forever. Well, forever is a long time. Until I die, which might be forever, most likely."

Another QB in the first round

Quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be gone with the first two picks of the draft. Texas A & M's Ryan Tannehill might go as high as No. 3. Could there be another first-round quarterback? It might be Arizona State's Brock Osweiler, who has received an invitation to attend the draft in New York. Of the 25 players invited to attend last year's draft, 20 went in the first round.

Five coaches on the Jaguars' staff have experience as NFL offensive coordinators: head coach Mike Mularkey, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, running backs coach Sylvester Croom, wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. "I think they're all getting along great and it's been a good process," Mularkey said.

One thing that sold Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Todd Haley as his new offensive coordinator was Haley's familiarity with Pittsburgh. Haley's father, Dick, was a former Steelers defensive back and a longtime Steelers front-office executive. "The way he embraces the standard that is the Pittsburgh Steelers, that's something you can't quantify," Tomlin said. "That's an intangible that is going to help us, when somebody legitimately understands and embraces what comes with being a part of our organization."

Lewis: Give Tebow a shot

The Jets plan to use newly acquired Tim Tebow in their Wildcat offense, though the formation was largely solved by defensive coordinators since its introduction to the NFL in 2008 with Tony Sparano's Dolphins.

The formation fooled teams early on, but defenses eventually caught on. In fact, Rex Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator that year when Baltimore crushed the Dolphins in the wild-card playoffs, 27-9. But Ryan, now the Jets' head coach, is convinced it will work for him and Sparano, the Jets' new offensive coordinator.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis thinks it'll succeed, too.

"The Wildcat has a lot of dimensions," Lewis said. "The ability to run the ball, an effective runner. When the running back is running the ball, he's a more effective runner than a quarterback running the ball, but he's not as effective a passer as Tim will be passing the ball . . . I think [Tebow] is a great fit. I know they missed that when Brad Smith left and went to Buffalo [in 2011]."

Broncos coach John Fox remains high on Tebow even though Denver traded him to the Jets after the team signed Peyton Manning.

"He's just going to get better," Fox said. "I'm not changing my tune just because he isn't with us anymore, but I think the Jets got a heck of a player and I think he'll grow and develop there."

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