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Parcells protege Coughlin rejoins Giants as coach

wire services
Published January 7, 2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Tom Coughlin didn't say no to the Giants this time around, signing to coach them Tuesday.

The former Jaguars coach signed a four-year contract, vowing to bring back a brand of smashmouth, mistake-free football that led New York to two Super Bowls under his mentor, Bill Parcells.

"It is a tremendous challenge, and I am looking forward to working with these players and re-establishing the New York Giants' tradition of physically controlling the line of scrimmage," Coughlin said. "We want to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, eliminate the disease of turnovers and control field position of special teams."

Coughlin and the Giants finalized the deal worth around $12-million Tuesday, a day after Coughlin held his second round of meetings with the team.

Coughlin, 57, succeeds Jim Fassel, who was fired after a 4-12 season in which the Giants lost their final eight.

"Tom Coughlin is the man we wanted 11 years ago and he is the man we wanted now," general manager Ernie Accorsi said. "Aside from his family, Tom has one interest: winning."

A former Giants assistant under Parcells, Coughlin was 72-64 in eight seasons with the Jaguars, twice leading them to the AFC title game. He was fired after 2002, his third straight losing season.

"I am really looking forward to getting back into the competitive part of it," Coughlin said.

Center Chris Bober thought Coughlin would be a good fit after a mistake- and injury-marred season that began with Super Bowl expectations.

"I heard he likes to run a ball-control, smashmouth style of football, and as a lineman, that's exciting," said Bober, eligible to become a free agent in March. "I hope I can be a part of it."

The Giants offered Coughlin their coaching job in 1993 after firing Ray Handley. Coughlin turned it down, saying he wanted to complete a rebuilding program he started at Boston College.

RAIDERS PURSUE GREEN: Dennis Green has interviewed with Oakland for the coaching vacancy.

Green spent Monday afternoon with owner Al Davis and appears to be the leading candidate to replace Bill Callahan, fired last week after his second season.

"I think Al Davis is going to hire the guy who he feels gives the Raiders the greatest chance to be Super Bowl champions," Green told the San Jose Mercury News. "I would not be here if I didn't think I could do that."

MORE HARDWARE FOR MANNING: NFL co-MVP Peyton Manning won player of the year honors from the Maxwell Football Club. Manning, who shared the Associated Press MVP honors with Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair, received 293 first-place votes to win the Bert Bell trophy.

IS THIS BOWL TOO BOOTYLICIOUS?: Beyonce Knowles will sing the national anthem before the Super Bowl in her native Houston on Feb. 1. A week later, Knowles is up for six Grammy Awards.

BILLS: President Tom Donahoe has at least one more candidate to interview for the coaching vacancy after spending most of the day with Fassel. Donahoe has an interview scheduled for today, team spokesman Scott Berchtold said.

COWBOYS: Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is staying with the team, coach Bill Parcells said. Zimmer told Nebraska officials he would not pursue the head coaching vacancy created when Frank Solich was fired. Parcells said Dallas is close to retaining strength coach Joe Juraszek and kicking coordinator Steve Hoffman.

DOLPHINS: Ravens director of player personnel Phil Savage interviewed for the new general manager position with Miami, which said it also is interested in two minority candidates. Giants director of player personnel Jerry Reese is scheduled to interview Friday, and Miami has requested permission to interview Bobby Grier, Texans assistant director of pro scouting. Reese and Grier are black.

STEELERS: Defensive coordinator Tim Lewis and wide receivers coach Ken Jackson were fired after a 6-10 season.

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