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Dolphins' plane lands in Costa Rica in pursuit of Carroll

MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga's travel
itinerary suggests he's trying to lure Southern California coach
Pete Carroll back to the NFL.

Carroll has been on vacation in Costa Rica, and a Huizenga-owned
plane flew there Sunday, then returned to Fort Lauderdale,
according to flight records. The same plane was used to take
Dolphins officials to Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Diego, Jacksonville
and Minneapolis to interview candidates to replace Nick Saban.

The fact that Pete Carroll was willing to meet Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga during a vacation in Costa Rica shows he's as interested in this job as any that has come along for him in the NFL in years.

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A Dolphins spokesman declined to say whether Huizenga met with
Carroll. USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said Carroll was expected to
return from vacation Tuesday.

"Pete hasn't gotten back, so I don't have any information to
share with you," Tessalone said.

In the 1990s, Carroll coached the New York Jets for one season
and the New England Patriots for three before being fired. As
recently as last week, he denied rumors he wanted to return to the
pros.

If the 55-year-old Carroll is interested in the Dolphins job, he
would become the front-runner. He led the Trojans to a fifth
consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearance this season and
beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He's 65-12 with two national titles
in six seasons at Southern California.

The Dolphins interviewed two candidates Monday: their defensive
coordinator, Dom Capers, and Minnesota Vikings defensive
coordinator Mike Tomlin.

Capers was interviewed in Jacksonville, where he was on
vacation. He coached expansion teams in Carolina and Houston and
has a career record of 48-80.

Since Saban left last week for Alabama, Miami has interviewed at
least six other candidates: former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora,
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Georgia
Tech coach Chan Gailey, San Diego offensive coordinator Cam
Cameron, and two Chicago Bears assistants, defensive coordinator
Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Ron Turner.

Gailey, a former offensive coordinator for the Dolphins, said
Monday there was nothing new to report in the coaching search.

"I'm one of the guys in the running," he said. "We'll see
where it goes."

The Dolphins' experience with Saban might make them less likely
to hire a college coach. He came to Miami from Louisiana State and
left after two seasons, deciding he preferred the SEC to the NFL.

Carroll is one of the highest-paid coaches in college, but
Huizenga last week said: "I don't care what it takes, what it
costs, what's involved. We're going to make this a winning
franchise."

The Dolphins have failed to make the playoffs the past five
seasons, a team record.

A message left on Carroll's cell phone wasn't returned, and his
agent didn't return calls seeking comment.