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Cowboys Coach Tracker: Former Cowboys' CB Deion Sanders Has Surgery, Won't Miss Time Coaching

Dallas Cowboys Coach Tracker: Keeping you up to date on all the NFL coaching news as it relates to the Dallas Cowboys

FRISCO - Our Dallas Cowboys Coach Tracker .... keeping you informed as “America’s Team” makes coaching staff decisions ...

WEDNESDAY SEPT 22: DEION SANDERS' BIG TOE Former Cowboys cornerback has toe surgery, but still plans to coach. Sanders was reportedly in so much pain he was barefooted during games and practices over the past few weeks, as reported by Kyle T. Mosley

Sanders, however, does not plan on missing time as the head coach of Jackson State University. According to Sanders' doctor, Dr. James Hurt, "repair was needed on a deformity from an old football injury."

TUESDAY FEB 2: RICHARD IS BACK Kris Richard - who in many ways in his short time in Dallas went from potential "GOAT'' to "scapegoat'' - is back in the NFL.

The New Orleans Saints are adding Richard to their staff, led by head coach Sean Payton, as their secondary coach, replacing Aaron Glenn. Glenn was hired away by new Lions head coach Dan Campbell to serve as Detroit's defensive coordinator, leaving a spot for Richard. 

Richard served as the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator from 2015-17, gaining momentum toward a possible head coaching job. That momentum continued on in his first season in Dallas, but after head coach Jason Garrett was replaced by Mike McCarthy to begin 2020, Richard was let go, and spent last year out of football.

THURSDAY PM: EAGLES MOVE - COWBOYS DO NOT  The Eagles are hiring Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni as their next head coach - good news at The Star for those wishing to keep Dallas' group of coordinators intact.

Sirianni, 39, may or may not be good for Philly. But his hire means that coordinators Kellen Moore (offense) and John "Bones'' Fassel (special teams) - both of whom were on the Eagles' search list - will stay in place with the Cowboys.

THURSDAY NOON: THREE MOVES OFFICIAL The Cowboys have signed deals to make official a trio of recent moves on the staff.

*Joe Whitt Jr. is the secondary/defensive pass game coordinator, coming to Dallas after serving in the same capacity with the Atlanta Falcons under new D-coordinator Dan Quinn. Whitt also worked under coach Mike McCarthy while both were with the Green Bay Packers.

Whitt brings with him 14 years of NFL coaching experience and five years at the collegiate level.

*Aden Durde joins the Cowboys as the defensive line coach after spending the previous three seasons on the defensive staff with the Atlanta Falcons in multiple roles. 

In 2019 Durde worked for the Cowboys at camp in 2014 in the same capacity. Prior to that, he played linebacker in NFL Europe for six years with the Scottish Claymores and Hamburg Sea Devils while also spending time on the practice squads of the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs.

*Harold Nash Jr. has spent 16 seasons in the NFL as a strength and conditioning coach, and after joining the Cowboys in 2020 as an assistant, he will take the lead role as coordinator in 2021. Nash was mentored by his predecessor, the late Markus Paul.

WEDNESDAY AM: The Cowboys interviewed a handful of D-line coach candidates, all of them with ties to new coordinator Dan Quinn. In the end, they're hiring one with Cowboys ties, too.

Aden Durde, 41, will be their defensive line coach. A native of England He was with new coordinator Dan Quinn in Atlanta for three seasons, spending the 2020 season as outside linebackers coach. A native of England, Durde is a product of the NFL's "International Player Pathway Program'' and he served two short stints on the practice squads of the Panthers and the Chiefs.

He then spent a season with the Cowboys coaching staff as an intern before landing a job with Quinn, first as a Falcons quality control assistant and then as the linebackers coach.

TUESDAY PM: KELLEN IN PHILLY: The search for Doug Pederson’s successor with the Philadelphia Eagles continues, with reports that Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is interviewing on Tuesday.

Moore, 32, signed a three-year deal at the end of the 2020 season to remain with the Cowboys while declining a chance to go to Boise State. Dallas cannot block Moore from moving up in title.

TUESDAY AM: FASSEL AND THE EAGLES? The Eagles' search for a head coach continues, in terms of its wide net, to change. But one thing hasn't changed: The connection between so many of the candidates.

A source confirms to the Philadelphia report that the Philly is interested in interviewing Cowboys special-teams coordinator John "Bones'' Fassel, and Fassel is without question one of the NFL's most creative minds. He turned around Dallas' bad special teams last year, he served as the Rams' interim head coach for the final three games of 2016, and he's the son of former NFL head coach Jim Fassel.

Fassel, at 47, has paid his dues and has his merits.

But "Bones'' has something else going for him - and stop us if you've heard this from us before - but he's represented by agent Bob LaMonte. Who also represents Philly GM Howie Roseman. Get the picture?

Maybe "Bones'' is a legit candidate. Or maybe LaMonte just wants to get his client into the headlines. But isn't it odd that no team had interviewed Fassel at all, with the cycle, almost over with ... and suddenly Roseman's agent has a client, if not in the running, then at least in the news?

TUESDAY AM: MILES TO GO ... to the Jets. As an assistant coach under new boss Robert Saleh. Good deal for the former Cowboys standout.

SATURDAY PM: MATT EBERFLUS INITIALLY bowed out of an interview opportunity with the Houston Texans, but he's back in the mix, according to NFL Media.

The Texans interviewed the respected Colts defensive coordinator - and former Cowboys top assistant - on Saturday.

Eberflus was one of the two names Deshaun Watson weighed in on in the closing weeks of the 2020 season.

"From what I’ve heard and played against him, Matt’s been very, very disciplined,'' Watson said. "That’s the type that you want. From the players and the scheme that I’ve been playing against, Indianapolis, they’re about what they do and they do it perfectly. They understand different concepts and what they want to do as an Indianapolis Colts defense. That’s why they’ve been successful. From what I’ve heard about him, he’s a great guy to play for."

With Eberflus reconsidering the Texans, could the chaos in Houston be starting to blow over?

FRIDAY AM: WADE PHILLIPS IS READY Old friend Wade Phillips wants back in.

"I am ready to retire from retirement!,'' he tweeted on Friday morning. "I am ready and available. Let’s win.''

Phillips, 73, was an architect of the Rams defense before being let go after the 2019 NFL season. He's been working as a consultant - high schools, colleges, pros, whoever calls - and he's got a great reputation as a coordinator.

In Dallas, of course, he served as a head coach. And in Houston? Well, "Son of Bum'' is a legend. In 2021? He says he ready.

THURSDAY PM: LINEHAN TO JOIN URBAN MEYER? Scott Linehan is reportedly a leading candidate to be the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator under their new coach Urban Meyer.

Yes, Meyer is coming to the NFL, in Jimmy Johnson-like style ...

READ MORE: 'Ruthless': Does Urban Meyer to Jags Equal Jimmy Johnson in Dallas?

And yes, as ESPN notes in its report, Meyer has a connection with Linehan, who served as the Dallas offensive coordinator before being purged, along with head coach Jason Garrett, after the 2019 season.

"Failed''? That's part of the buisness. But Linehan is also a former NFL head coach ... who was at LSU last year ... and now could bounce back onto the scene - to mentor probable No. 1 pick QB Trevor Lawrence - thanks to the trust Meyer apparently has in him.

THURSDAY AM: EAGLES WANT KELLEN MOORE VISIT Remember when Cowboys COO Stephen Jones suggested Kellen Moore pass on Boise State to instead "be patient''?

Now Kellen Moore sees why.

Doug Pederson is gone and the Philadelphia Eagles are scrambling ... and now have requested an interview with Cowboys offensive coordinator Moore, as ESPN has noted.

Moore, 32, signed a three-year deal at the end of the 2020 season to remain with the Cowboys, thus turning down the job at his alma mater in Boise. We would suggest that Moore falls well-short of "front-runner'' status in Philly; agent Bob LaMonte will have much to say about their eventual hire. But that doesn't keep the Cowboys from sweating this one out just a little bit.

WEDNESDAY PM: JONESES MEET WITH EDWARDS In addition to George Edwards' coordinator interview conducted by head coach Mike McCarthy at 8 a.m. Monday (before the ensuing hiring of Dan Quinn), the Jones family has now visited with Edwards about the idea of the Cowboys senior assistant remaining at The Star in some capacity.

Edwards, the former Vikings coordinator, came here a year ago not as a Mike Nolan staffer but rather as a McCarthy hire. He was once on the same Dolphins staff with Quinn. And he once coached linebackers for the Cowboys.

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WEDNESDAY AM: WHITT JR. COMES ABOARD A The Cowboys get their double-dip wish: Head coach Mike McCarthy has landed Joe Whitt Jr. as his "defensive pass game coordinator/secondary coach.'' Whitt was allowed out of his contract in Atlanta (which might've happened anyway under whomever the Falcons hire as their next coach) and gets a two-year contract here.

Whitt spent a decade on McCarthy’s Packers staff and will likely be assisted by Al Harris, the former Packers player who joined Dallas last year as a DB coach. With Whitt coming on, Mo Linquist is likely to depart.

Dallas is also working on adding a new D-line coach. We've reported on Tosh Lupoi and Travis Jones. (See below.) Now add Giff Smith to the mix.

TUESDAY AM: COACH CAMPBELL? Could Dan Campbell, the former Cowboys tight end, be the next head coach of the Detroit Lions? A source tells that while Niners coordinator Robert Saleh entered the process as a favorite, there is "influence in the building'' in Detroit that could "favor'' and therefore push Campbell - who was formally interviewed for the job on Monday - to the front of the pack.

Campbell is presently the assistant head coach for the New Orleans Saints, and in 2015 was the Miami Dolphins' interim head coach. Campbell, 44, is a native of Clifton, Texas, and a product of Texas A&M and would bring an old-school approach to the Lions staff.

MONDAY PM: LAST WORDS 'Grace, Character And Brotherhood' ... Dan Quinn has come aboard on a three-year deal. Want background? Read here: "What Dan Quinn's 'Last Words' Mean As Dallas Cowboys Hire Him As Defensive Coordinator.''

MONDAY AM: QUINN STAFF? Dan Quinn's second interview (this one face-to-face) is occurring on Monday, and one of the topics will be the proposed makeup of his staff.

Quinn plus Joe Whitt Jr. (as the top defensive assistant, with a title like "passing-game coordinator'' or something) is the thought of many inside The Star. Whitt would take over the secondary, which was a failure under McCarthy's hand-picked staffers in 2019.

A potential obstacle: What if Raheem Morris gets the head-coaching job in Atlanta? In that event, Whitt could stay there as his coordinator. ... which could lead to Jason Simmons getting the "pass-coordinator/secondary'' job.

Additionally, there is a vacancy in Dallas at D-line coach. Ownership would like to retain Leon Lett in an assistant role. An interesting name if he's available via change in Atlanta is Tosh Lupoi, Quinn's 2019 defensive line coach and run-game coordinator. On his resume is a five-season stint at Alabama. Another name: Travis Jones, another Atlanta staffer who was also with Nick Saban back at LSU.

Certainly, Dallas is leaning toward a return to the 4-3 defense and to people to run the secondary who have experience as "teachers.''

We would note that while Dallas appears to be closing in on Quinn, a formal interview of senior staffer George Edwards has occurred. Details here.

Also: While McCarthy would surely like to keep Scott McCurley as linebackers coach, the front office will have a say there - and the availability of Sean Lee as a retired player wishing to begin a coaching career might as well.

MONDAY AM: QUINN INTERVIEWS The Dallas Cowboys have added to their list of candidates to take over as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

Quinn was the head coach of the Falcons from 2015-2020, a run that included a pair playoff berths with a Super Bowl appearance in 2016.

READ MORE: Cowboys Interview Falcons Ex Dan Quinn

Click above. The coordinator credentials are impressive ... and then read below for how this isn't necessarily Mike McCarthy's "guy'' ... which might be a good thing.

SUNDAY PM: IT'S 'MCCARTHY'S HIRE,' BUT ... A source tells that this "is McCarthy's hire.'' But we're also told that during the interview process, a "top front-office executive'' might also be present for the visits.

SUNDAY PM: CAROLINA ASSISTANT INTERVIEWS Another candidate comes to light as Panthers defensive-pass-coordinator/secondary Jason Simmons has interviewed for the coordinator job in Dallas, a visit that according to ESPN included both Mike McCarthy and Jerry Jones for the Dallas Cowboys. That information coincides with our report that a top front-office executive will be involved in the McCarthy interviews.

Simmons and McCarthy, as one might guess, worked together in Green Bay.

SUNDAY AM: PACKAGE DEAL? year ago, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was going to hire Joe Whitt as his defensive coordinator before the job ended up going to another McCarthy friend, the now-ousted Mike Nolan.

Joe Whitt Jr. is back in the mix, interviewing this weekend for the vacancy. And maybe one of the most attractive things about him - given his work last year as the "passing-game coordinator'' for an Atlanta team that finished last in the NFL in pass defense - is who might come along with him.

Sources indicate to that while McCarthy does not have a particular connection with former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, Whitt obviously does - as Quinn is the guy who hired Whitt in Atlanta. Further, the idea that McCarthy could get his way with the Whitt hire (which the head coach is pushing for) might be more palatable if Quinn can also come to The Star, say, as the defensive line coach.

If McCarthy gets his way and hires Whitt - no guarantees there yet, as other viable candidates, including present Cowboys advisor George Edwards, also merit discussion) - that increases the likelihood that other McCarthy staffers would keep their jobs. In the event of an Edwards hire, he might push for some staff changes, as would most anyone else brought in from outside.

But if McCarthy can lure Whitt and Quinn (who in fairness surely has his sights set higher than being a position coach)? The Joneses might be impressed enough to allow McCarthy to get his way regarding the rest of the defensive staff remaining in place.

SATURDAY PM: EASY EDWARDS A smart and “easy” move? Elevate George Edwards. Edwards, the former Vikings coordinator, is already in the building but was not technically part of the Nolan staff. 

READ MORE: Marvin Lewis, Quinn, Edwards Among Top Dallas Candidates?

He could represent a compromise between the Jones family and McCarthy.

SATURDAY AM: WHITT TO INTERVIEW - WITH A PUSH Joe Whitt Jr. is a sensible name for McCarthy.

READ MORE: Sources: McCarthy Pushing For Whitt - Who He Almost Hired Last Year

But Whitt, despite his Green Bay connection, cannot exactly use his last season in Atlanta as a resume-builder.

FRIDAY PM: TOP DC CANDIDATES We've created our list ... some of them our names but most of them names from inside the building or names with obvious connections to those inside the building.

READ MORE: Who Should Cowboys Hire To Replace Mike Nolan?

FRIDAY PM: NOLAN & TOMSULA FIRED After just one season in Dallas, McCarthy’s top two defensive aides are out.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Mike Nolan Fired; Dallas Cowboys' 3 Choices

The 2020 Cowboys allowed the most TDs and points in a season in franchise history.

JAN 2: KELLEN IS STAYING ‘Boys or Boise? Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has made his choice.

READ MORE: Kellen Moore Staying With Cowboys

It’s a three-year deal to remain in place in Dallas.

SEAN LEE AS COACH? McCarthy Has spoken to the veteran linebacker about a post retirement career in coaching.

READ MORE: McCarthy Urges Sean Lee Into Coaching

"If you’re dumb enough to get into coaching,'' McCarthy jokingly told Lee, "we should definitely talk.''