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Parcells says no to Falcons
Big Tuna was offered noncoaching position

FLOWERY BRANCH - Bill Parcells will not be joining the Atlanta Falcons as head of football operations.

Parcells turned down the position, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Wednesday in a statement. Blank said the team had an agreement in principle with Parcells, but after he told the Falcons he was considering an offer from the Miami Dolphins, negotiations fell through.

"We gave it our best shot, and it didn't work out," Blank said.

Parcells was considering an offer to join the team's front office as vice president of football operations, a role that would put him in charge of finding the next coach for a team rocked by the suspension and imprisonment of Michael Vick and the sudden resignation of Bobby Petrino.

The announcement that talks broke down with Parcells leaves the makeup of the Falcons' front office, and their search for a replacement for Petrino, in question.

Falcons president and general manager Rich McKay's future with the team appeared uncertain if Parcells came aboard. Parcells had told The Daily News in New York he would 'probably' accept the Atlanta offer, would plan to hire a general manager and then work with that person to hire a new coach to replace Petrino, who quit last week 13 games into his first season to coach at Arkansas.

It appears unlikely McKay will remain with the team in his present role even though Parcells turned down the position.

Blank added that the Falcons remain committed to "looking at every option for building a championship-caliber team for our fans.

"I have stated we will leave no stone unturned in doing so, and this effort is one example of that," Blank said.

The courtship with Parcells may have no real effect on the team's search for a new coach. The Falcons are expected to wait at least until the end of the regular season to begin serious talks with candidates.

Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene declined comment, saying the organization does not discuss rumors.

"Really?" defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday said when told by The AP about Parcells' apparent interest in the Dolphins. "You can't control it. But somebody like the Big Tuna, regardless of who's in the front office or who's not, brings a lot of respect and a lot of credibility with him. He's a Hall of Famer. If you're a free agent out there, that might draw you in."

Parcells is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The story broke as many Dolphins were playing cards and dominoes in the locker room after practice, and instantly, many of them began turning heads toward the televisions scattered about the room.

It didn't take long for even the mere mention of Parcells to create a buzz in Miami.

"I have a lot of respect for what he's been able to do in other places and I'd expect, if he did come in here, for him to do the same," Holliday said. "I don't know what's going to happen upstairs. I have no idea. I have a lot of respect for (GM) Randy Mueller, as well. But my interest is in what's best for this team and getting us in the right direction."

AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this story.