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Cowboys owe Bucs nothing

Tagliabue says Dallas gets Parcells without gifting Tampa Bay with money or draft picks.

By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 3, 2003

TAMPA -- The runaway bride finally exchanged vows Thursday when Bill Parcells was announced as coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

But the Bucs won't receive any compensation.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue determined the Cowboys do not owe the Bucs draft picks or cash after hiring the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, who signed a four-year contract with Tampa Bay last winter then decided to remain retired.

Tagliabue ruled, however, that the Bucs could seek financial compensation from Parcells. But the Bucs said Thursday they are not interested in that option, and the issue is dead.

"While we are pleased that the commissioner saw the validity of our claim, we did not file this claim to seek monetary damages," general manager Rich McKay said in a statement.

"The sole focus of this organization should be the playoffs, and accordingly, we do not intend to pursue this claim any further."

Tagliabue agreed to hear a claim by the Bucs that the Cowboys were in violation of anti-tampering rules by talking to Parcells, revealing that the coach signed a four-year contract in January.

But the contract with Parcells was never filed with the NFL office. While Tagliabue acknowledged the Bucs had a "substantial claim," he said no compensation was owed by the Cowboys.

"I have determined that there is no basis under applicable league precedents to prohibit the Cowboys and Coach Parcells from executing a contract of employment under which Parcells would become the Cowboys head coach," Tagliabue said in a letter to McKay, Parcells and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

"Further, I have determined that there is no basis on which the Cowboys would owe Tampa Bay compensation for signing Coach Parcells, either in the form of draft choices or cash."

After Parcells decided not to honor his contract with the Bucs, Tampa Bay ended its 36-day coaching search in February by trading four draft picks -- two first-rounders and two second-rounders -- and $8-million to the Raiders for coach Jon Gruden.

At that point, the Bucs thought it was in their best interest to keep the agreement with Parcells quiet.

But after Jones had two meetings with Parcells about coaching the Cowboys, the Bucs' sent a letter Dec. 27 to his agent, Jimmy Sexton, claiming any team wanting to talk to the 61-year-old coach would have to receive permission from Tampa Bay.

Several hours after Tagliabue's ruling, Parcells was introduced as the sixth coach of the Cowboys, getting a four-year, $17.1-million contract.

McKay and vice presidents Joel and Bryan Glazer attended the hearing with Tagliabue in New York.

The Bucs begin the postseason Jan. 11 or 12, hosting an NFC division playoff game at Raymond James Stadium against either Green Bay, San Francisco or the Giants.

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