NEWARK, N.J. — Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio faces a challenge this week as he prepares for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, power running back Marshawn Lynch and the expected return of receiver Percy Harvin.
At least he needn't be concerned about USC's recruiting class.
Del Rio, the former USC All-American linebacker, was interviewed by Athletic Director Pat Haden as a possible replacement for fired coach Lane Kiffin.
Haden ultimately hired Steve Sarkisian.
"It's a great place," Del Rio said of USC on Tuesday during Super Bowl media day at the Prudential Center. "It just didn't work out timing-wise. . . . Potential for an opportunity there, but in the end I'm still working. I'm still busy here."
Haden has not commented publicly on where Del Rio or any candidate stood on USC's wish list during its coaching search. But the possibility that Del Rio could be working deep into the NFL playoffs — and not on campus or on the road recruiting — was regarded as a major concern.
National signing day is next Wednesday.
Del Rio acknowledged that the scenario was addressed "a little bit" during his interview with Haden.
"That really lessened the probability of anything occurring," Del Rio said. "But again, it's a special place, one that I have a lot of respect for, special feelings for and I wish them the best."
Del Rio will still keep his eye on the Pac-12 Conference.
His son, Luke, a walk-on quarterback last season at Alabama, transferred this month to Oregon State. Luke Del Rio was No. 3 on the depth chart for the Crimson Tide. He must sit out the 2014 season as per NCAA transfer rules.
"His choice and I support it 100%," Jack Del Rio said. "He's got tremendous work ethic, he can spin the football, he's smart and I know he's going to do well."
Kiffin was hired as Alabama's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach a few days before Luke Del Rio announced via Twitter that he would leave the Crimson Tide. Alabama Coach Nick Saban announced Sunday that former Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker had signed with the Crimson Tide.
Twitter: @latimeskleinCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun