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Dan Quinn EXCLUSIVE: Coach Explains His Cowboys 'Happiness'

"I have unfinished business here,'' Dan Quinn tells "We have the right people in place to accomplish the things everyone in this building is working to accomplish.''
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FRISCO - Dan Quinn has a motto that I suggest to him surely must been a life-long credo and one that's gotten him through highs and lows.

"I want to be right where my feet are,'' he says often, and he mentioned it again in our 1-on-1 interview this week on the heels of his decision to exit the NFL Coaching Carousel and remain the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator. "But that doesn't mean I've always been fully happy where my feet are.

"I'm happy here.''

Quinn, 51, is clearly comfortable in Dallas - and in his skin. His presence during our visit is as always punctuated by his distinctly-Dan look: The rumpled blue "COWBOYS'' T-shirt and the backward ball cap offset by the perfectly-trimmed silver goatee.

And I'm told his job interviews were as sharp as that facial hair.

Quinn entered this offseason as the hottest candidate head-coach candidate in the cycle, and the reasons are obvious. He was an architect of the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl "Legion of Doom,'' was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl team, and in his one season in Dallas, used his force-of-nature personality and his X-and-O's acumen in putting players in position to succeed to oversee a complete turnaround of the Dallas defense.

Well, maybe not complete ...

"I have unfinished business here,'' Quinn tells in his first media interview of his whirlwind offseason. "We have the right people in place to accomplish the things everyone in this building is working to accomplish. We're doing that right now. We're doing it today - grinding toward a goal.''

Quinn engenders devotion from his players and his staff. Top assistant Joe Whitt Jr., himself a candidate for what I'm told are a half-dozen NFL defensive coordinator openings, tells me that working with Quinn "is one of the bright spots of my career.

"Going to work with DQ every day - that would be a tough thing to leave,'' Whitt says.

I have written that Quinn was expected by all involved (and I do mean all) to land the Denver Broncos job. He interviewed for a handful of others. Somewhere in that mix, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says, there was a job offer declined. I'm told by two sources the Jones family arranged for a "substantial'' new arrangement in Quinn's contract should he decided to again next year decline other teams' overtures to stay in Dallas.

Quinn is still growing as a coach. He studied himself and his tendencies after being fired by the Falcons in the 2020 season "to find what was good, what needed changing and what needed tweaking.'' His application of all of that transformed Dallas into one of the NFL's top play-making units, with young Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs emerging as stars, and players like Randy Gregory taking a step forward.

Says Gregory: “He brings the best out of you. He’s real intense but he’s very direct in the way he handles things. He’s never a guy that’s going to harp too much on anything and get mad at you if you mess up. That’s the kind of guy you want.”

Says Diggs, “He’s just a player’s coach, makes everyone feel comfortable. He don't put anyone down. He just wants you to be in the best position to make the plays you can.”

Says Parsons (via Twitter), who had issued a plea for Quinn to stay: "Oooo weeee,'' placed alongside an emoji of Quinn as a "GOAT.''

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"I don't think all the other narratives are important,'' Quinn says. "The Dallas Cowboys, because of the people and the work that has been put in, are in position to accomplish big things. Me saying ('Be where my feet are') doesn't automatically mean happiness. Continuing working with these guys to make it happen, that's what I'm happy about.''

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