Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse has offered former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells the chance to coach his team next season and asked him to decide before the weekend, according to an NFL source.
The second meeting in two weeks between Culverhouse and Parcells took place in New Jersey on Monday and lasted several hours as they discussed financial terms and tried to outline a long-term contract.
"I have no comment on that," Culverhouse told The Orlando Sentinel when reached at his home yesterday afternoon, declining to comment further and hanging up his telephone.
League sources said Culverhouse was offering a five-year contract worth more than $1 million annually and had assured Parcells of complete responsibility for personnel decisions.
Culverhouse apparently showed a willingness to expand those parameters during their most recent meeting.
Culverhouse and other team officials did not try to deny published reports that he hastily rearranged his schedule the day after the team's final regular-season game and flew to New Jersey aboard his private jet.
Culverhouse arrived back in Tampa at 3:30 a.m. yesterday without an agreement from Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl winner who is also apparently waiting to talk with the Green Bay Packers.
A team source said Culverhouse decided to impose a deadline on Parcells on the advice of former Tampa Bay coach John McKay, who has told the Bucs to pursue Chuck Knox of the Seattle Seahawks as a secondary candidate to replace Richard Williamson.
* STEELERS: President Dan Rooney insists he doesn't know whether Chuck Noll will be back as coach.
So, how could anyone else?
Noll has hinted he might retire after 23 seasons as Pittsburgh coach, but he seemed uncertain about his plans at the news conference after the Steelers' 17-10 victory Sunday over the Browns.
Before the Steelers office was closed for Christmas, Rooney said he "honestly" won't know Noll's plans until a meeting later this week.
* GIANTS: Phil Simms is furious at Ray Handley because the New York coach said on his radio call-in show Monday night that among Simms' options, the 36-year-old quarterback is contemplating retirement.
"Retirement has never come up," Simms said angrily yesterday night from his Franklin Lakes, N.J., home. "I've never considered it. It never was an option."
Simms has said dozens of times he would like to play at least two more years.
He wanted it to be known that he was upset only that his coach would say something unfounded.
* EAGLES: Quarterback Jim McMahon said that if he likes the size of the new contract that management puts on the table next month, he's not going anywhere.
"I think it's all going to come down to whether or not they offer me a fair contract," said McMahon, 32, who will become a Plan B free agent if he's not signed by February.