Turner leads Cowboys candidates; decision next week

While Norv Turner remains the leading candidate to be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Wednesday that another candidate has emerged: Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.

And in his first public comments since Parcells retired Jan. 22, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he wouldn't have a decision on a new coach until next week. Jones has interviewed eight candidates so far.

"We've got a good football team, and I've got to get this right," Jones said. "We've got to make a good decision when we select the next coach. We're going to have the opportunity and a plan in place that will allow us to do that."

Rivera's contract with the Bears will expire after the Super Bowl, and the Cowboys are interested in talking to him about their head-coaching job. And Turner has told Jones that Rivera is the man he'd like to hire as defensive coordinator if he gets the Cowboys' top job.

"That's something I'd address if it ever came to fruition," Rivera said Thursday when asked about moving to the Cowboys as a coordinator. "Right now, I can't tell you because I don't know anything. It's kind of frustrating because nobody has told me anything."

Even though Rivera's contract with Chicago expires after Sunday's Super Bowl, the Bears have three weeks of exclusivity during which other teams cannot talk to Rivera about a lateral move. In other words, if the Cowboys want to interview him during that period, they must interview him solely for the head-coaching job.

If the Bears suspect the Cowboys are looking at Rivera for their defensive coordinator job, Chicago could file a tampering charge.

On Tuesday, the Cowboys interviewed Bears Hall of Fame linebacker and 49ers assistant coach Mike Singletary, and indications are that Singletary was impressive in his interview.

Sources say Turner has made a number of stipulations to the Cowboys, including asking for control over choosing his staff and a voice in personnel decisions, including the future of wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Jason Garrett was hired Thursday for an unspecified role on the coaching staff, likely as offensive coordinator, after he interviewed for the head coaching vacancy. Garrett, who was Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman's backup for two Super Bowl titles, is still a candidate for the top job.

Defensive coordinators Wade Phillips of San Diego and Gary Gibbs of New Orleans have also interviewed, as did three of Parcells' assistants.

Jones said he hasn't eliminated any of the candidates from consideration.

"I feel very comfortable with where we are," Jones said. "But if I can, I don't want to leave any stone unturned here."

Parcells went 34-32 and failed to win a playoff game over four seasons.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.