Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Releases Statement on Jason Garrett’s Dismissal

Jerry Jones

Getty Jerry Jones

From the horse’s mouth comes official confirmation that the Dallas Cowboys have pink-slipped head coach Jason Garrett.

On Sunday evening, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones released a statement on Garrett, whose contract — set to expire on Jan. 14 — will not be renewed. Jones’ 204-word message celebrated the 53-year-old for his decade of service in Dallas’ big seat.

“We are extremely grateful to Jason Garrett for his more than 20 years of service to the Dallas Cowboys as a player, assistant coach and head coach,” Jones said. “His level of commitment, character and dedication to this organization has been outstanding at every stage of his career. In his nine full years as a head coach, he guided our team to three division championships while also having them in position to play for the NFC East title in the last game of the year in four other seasons. His tenure of leadership will be characterized by his ability to produce teams that always played with great effort, emotion and passion, and he represented our organization with great pride, loyalty and respect.”

“Jason Garrett’s legacy with the Dallas Cowboys will always be that of someone who strived for greatness every day that he walked through the door, and as someone who instilled the virtues of enthusiasm, hard work and appreciation for the profession in all of the men who played with him and for him.”

“He is, and always will remain, a cherished member of the Dallas Cowboys family, and his contributions to the organization are greatly appreciated.”

A former NFL quarterback, Garrett scaled the coaching ladder in the late 2000s, first as Dallas’ offensive coordinator (2007), then assistant head coach (2008), then interim HC (2010). He was named the permanent head man in 2011, replacing Wade Phillips.

Overall, Garrett compiled an 85-67 regular-season record and 2-3 postseason mark, never advancing beyond the Divisional Round. He oversaw the most fruitless decade in franchise history with only three playoff appearances across 10 seasons, ESPN’s Ed Werder noted.

The 2019 outfit, which began 3-0, had Super Bowl aspirations, propped up by a championship-caliber (or so we thought) roster that was continually hampered by poor coaching. The team finished 8-8 for the fourth time in the Garrett era.

Persistent reports throughout the campaign suggested that Garrett would need to capture the division crown and reach the NFC Championship Game to keep his job. That possibility became increasingly unrealistic as the year wore on, with the Cowboys blowing winnable games against the Jets, Bears, and Eagles — the Week 16 death knell.

Garrett met with the Jones family on Monday and Tuesday as part of his exit interviews — standard operating procedure at the end of a regular season. There was conflicting information on Garrett’s third sitdown with Jerry and Stephen Jones, which was expected after New Year’s Day.

Garrett reportedly had campaigned to return in 2020.

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Dallas Takes Action With Riley in Coaching Search: Report

The Cowboys have staked their interest in Lincoln Riley. Now they’re attempting to determine if the feeling is mutual.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Dallas will “at least take the temperature” of the renowned Oklahoma head coach as their search for Garrett’s predecessor intensifies.

“See if he is actually interested in coming to the NFL,” Rapoport said of the Cowboys’ intentions. “I’ve talked to people close to him [and] they don’t think so. But nobody has said definitively, ‘No.’”

Riley has been a popular dot connected to the Cowboys in recent years, given his successful tenure with the Sooners (30-4 through three incomplete seasons) and the relatively close proximity to Texas. Riley is also cut from the Kellen Moore cloth in that he’s a young (36), extremely bright offensive mind.

Jones is said to be “very intrigued” by Riley and virtually admitted as much following last month’s Big 12 Championship between No. 7 Baylor and No. 4 Oklahoma, hosted at AT&T Stadium — a thrilling overtime victory for OU.

“I’m impressed with him. But, boy, I’m impressed with Baylor’s coach, too,” Jones said, referring to Matt Rhule, another hotly-courted NFL coaching candidate, via 105.3 The Fan. “Those were two outstanding coaches at the stadium this weekend. … They’ve done great jobs. … That was a great chance to see a couple great coaches out there.”

The Cowboys reportedly completed interviews with former Packers HC Mike McCarthy and former Bengals HC Marvin Lewis. The club has also expressed interest in college coaches such as Riley and former Ohio State HC Urban Meyer. On the NFL side, they’ve unofficially been linked to Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Vikings HC Mike Zimmer.

What’s Next for Garrett?

This turned out to be Garrett’s last season with Dallas, but he could see the Cowboys again next year. At least twice, potentially.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported in November that Garrett is a “real and legitimate” suitor for the New York Giants, who ousted their coach, Pat Shurmer, after the season and have long eyed Dallas’ now-former leader of men.

The interest apparently works both ways, as New York is Garrett’s “preferred destination.”

“The job status of Jason Garrett is always a conversation in Dallas,” Rapoport said. “Meanwhile, the Giants are struggling again under coach Pat Shurmur in his second year. So let’s fast forward a little bit: What if the Giants move on from Shurmur and what if the Cowboys and Jason Garrett part ways? My understanding is the Giants have emerged as a real and legitimate potential landing spot for Garrett. First of all, it is his preferred destination if he can’t stick with the Cowboys. And second, back in 2014, the Giants were trying to decide should they fire Tom Coughlin. My understanding is they would have fired Coughlin if they could get Jason Garrett. Instead, he signed an extension and the Giants held onto Coughlin. We will keep watching this one.”

Garrett fits the Giants’ pattern of targeting offensive-minded coaches; like Shurmur, he was a play-caller before being promoted. But he’d be a welcome deviation. Shurmur had zero prior HC experience whereas Garrett would bring a decade-plus of on-the-job training.

The Giants are casting a wide net to find their next coach, expressing interest in Rhule, Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels and special teams coordinator Joe Judge, and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy. They’ve also interviewed Dallas passing game coordinator Kris Richard.

READ NEXT: Cowboys to Trade for Current NFL Head Coach?

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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