Several close associates of Steve Spurrier say it's not a matter of if or even when the former Washington Redskins coach will return to a college sideline; it's a matter of where.
A number of Spurrier's friends said over the past week they think it's virtually certain that he will accept a college coaching job for the 2005 season after taking this season off. The associates spoke on the condition of anonymity because they didn't think Spurrier would approve of them making public comments about his job prospects at a time when he is declining repeated interview requests and says he is doing his best to keep a low public profile.
The favorite, one Spurrier associate said, is the University of North Carolina, a school to which Spurrier was linked last year. The person said he didn't think that current coach John Bunting would be able to win consistently there but Spurrier might be able to revive the program. Spurrier grew up not too far away in Johnson City, Tenn., and is popular in the state from his days at Duke, and he perhaps could lure recruits away from the other powerhouse schools in the beefed-up Atlantic Coast Conference.
"That program is a sleeping giant," the Spurrier associate said. "That would be my guess of where he goes. That's the place, I'd say."
But the person said he doesn't rule out South Carolina if Lou Holtz leaves or Texas if Mack Brown is ousted. South Carolina could be particularly alluring to Spurrier, one associate said, if Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Hootie Johnson were to offer a membership to the club as part of a coaching offer. Johnson is a former South Carolina football player, and Holtz reportedly is a member of the club.
"If Lou Holtz retires, like the rumors are saying he will, and Hootie Johnson offers to get Steve into Augusta, Steve could go there," the friend said.
There undoubtedly will be plenty of clamoring for Spurrier to return to the University of Florida, where he won 122 games in 12 seasons, if successor Ron Zook struggles this season. But another Spurrier friend said: "Why go back there? It's a place where he can never live up to himself. The longer he's gone, the better he used to be."
Sehorn Fails Physical
Safety Jason Sehorn failed his physical with the St. Louis Rams today and won't be joining the team. He had agreed to a one-year, $760,000 deal and would have signed and practiced with the club today if he had passed. Sehorn, who broke his foot last year in training camp, had undergone surgery in February. It appeared over the weekend that Sehorn, 33, would retire, but the Rams remained interested and Sehorn had a change of heart. It would have been Sehorn's second season with the Rams and 11th in the NFL. He began his career as a cornerback and spent his first nine seasons with the New York Giants. . . .
Quarterback Tim Couch, cut by the Green Bay Packers over the weekend, is scheduled to have his right shoulder and arm examined by orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., perhaps today. Couch was plagued by pain in his biceps throughout training camp and preseason. The Indianapolis Colts have expressed interest in having him in for a workout after they play the New England Patriots in the NFL's season-opener Thursday.
Reid Gets Extension
The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they had signed Coach Andy Reid to a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2010 season.
Eagles officials said they negotiated the deal with agent Bob LaMonte quickly after opening discussions on the matter last winter. Reid has led the club to the last three NFC championship games. The deal apparently is worth about $5 million per season and is added to the three remaining seasons that Reid had on a six-year, $15 million contract.
"This man has led this franchise in a spectacular way over the last several years, and will be doing so for the next several years," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said at a news conference.
Reid said: "I'm very humbled by it. Our relationship -- Joe [Banner, the team president], myself and Jeffrey -- I think is a unique relationship in the National Football League. It has definitely led to the success over the last three years."
Dyson-Titans Decision Due Today
Wide receiver Kevin Dyson, cut by San Diego, underwent a physical for the Tennessee Titans late Tuesday and could sign with his former team today. If the Titans pass on Dyson, he plans to with the Miami Dolphins. The two clubs face one another to open the regular season in a game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. in Miami.
Dyson spent his first five seasons with the Titans and is known for three things: being selected ahead of Randy Moss in the first round of the 1998 draft; scoring the touchdown on a disputed lateral from Frank Wycheck in the team's "Music City Miracle" playoff triumph over Buffalo in January 2000; and being tackled inside the 1-yard line as the game ended when the club lost the Super Bowl to the Rams later that month. . . . The Titans-Dolphins game could be moved to Saturday or Monday. NFL officials are monitoring the progress of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit the Miami area Sunday. The game could be rescheduled for a Thursday in November, when the two teams are scheduled for byes on consecutive weekends.
The Titans this afternoon placed kicker Joe Nedney on the injured reserve list, ending his season. Nedney hurt his left hamstring during practice Tuesday. He was sidelined for all but one game of last season because of a knee injury and was replaced by Gary Anderson, who likely will be Nedney's replacement again this season. Tennessee punter Craig Hentrich is available as a temporary fill-in if needed. He had field goals of 49, 34 and 33 yards in last season's opener after Nedney got hurt, and added a 48-yarder later in the season. He missed from 52 yards.
Dolphins Get Gordon
Miami traded a third-round draft choice in 2005 to the Rams this morning for tailback Lamar Gordon, a third-stringer in St. Louis who perhaps could move ahead of Travis Minor and Sammy Morris to be the Dolphins' starter.
Gordon rushed for 526 yards in 23 games over two seasons with the Rams but was made expendable by the team's selection of tailback Steven Jackson in the first round of this year's draft.
CBS To Give More Stats
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, CBS Sports President Sean McManus said the network will offer viewers a new feature during its game broadcasts this season by putting updated player statistics on the screen following every play. It is an attempt to satisfy fantasy-football participants who want access to such numbers more frequently during games, McManus said. . . .
CBS's pregame show Sunday is scheduled to include a segment in which Shannon Sharpe interviews Deion Sanders, with Sharpe offering Sanders tips about dealing with the Baltimore Ravens and Sanders offering Sharpe advice about fitting in with his new television colleagues. Sharpe retired from the Denver Broncos this past offseason to join the CBS studio show after the network refused to meet Sanders's salary demands. Sanders has come out of retirement to join the Ravens, with whom Sharpe won a Super Bowl title in the 2000 season. . . .
Dan Marino said on the conference call that he is not necessarily relieved about his decision not to join the Dolphins' front office in the offseason. The former Dolphins quarterback accepted, then backed out of a job with the club, saying he wasn't ready for the strain that such a position would have placed on his family life. He has watched the team endure a turbulent offseason and preseason that included the abrupt retirement of tailback Ricky Williams.
"I'm still a huge Dolphins fans and love the team and love the organization," Marino said. "I didn't do it because the time wasn't right."
Eagles Could Re-Sign Levens
The Eagles possibly could re-sign veteran tailback Dorsey Levens within the next few weeks. The team had some concerns about its depth at other positions for Sunday's regular season opener against the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field, and released Levens as part of its final round of roster trims. But he could come back to be Brian Westbrook's backup, a role now filled by Reno Mahe. The Eagles signed Levens, who spent last season with the Giants, after Correll Buckhalter suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason. . . .
Johnnie Morton likely will begin the season as Kansas City's third receiver, behind starters Eddie Kennison and Dante Hall, after being sidelined by a sore Achilles tendon for much of the preseason. . . . Antuan Edwards beat out Arturo Freeman in the competition for the Dolphins' starting free safety job. . . .
Marques Anderson requested uniform No. 29 from the Oakland Raiders after he was obtained by the club last week in a trade with Green Bay. He wanted to honor fellow UCLA alum Eric Turner, the former Raiders safety who died in May 2000 at age 31 from intestinal cancer. But no Raiders player has worn Turner's number since he died, and Anderson was told to pick another number. He went with No. 23. . . .
The Patriots will be without reserve tailback Kevin Faulk on Thursday against the Colts. Faulk has a knee injury, the severity of which is unclear, and also has been away from the team tending to a personal matter. . . .
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning needs 115 passing yards to reach 25,000 for his career. If he reaches the milestone Thursday, it will be in his 97th game -- the second-fastest in NFL history to Marino's 92 games. Drew Bledsoe currently is second on that list, at 102 games. . . .
Baltimore tailback Jamal Lewis gets to open the season Sunday at Cleveland. Watch out. Lewis had 500 rushing yards in two games against the Browns last season, including an NFL-record 295-yard outing in one game, and has averaged 173.8 rushing yards per game in six career appearances against Cleveland. The next-best average by an active NFL runner against one team (with a minimum of five games) is the 127 yards per game that Lewis has produced against the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by the Rams' Marshall Faulk's 126.6 yards per game against the Atlanta Falcons. . . .
The New York Jets placed cornerback Ray Mickens on the injured reserve list, ending his season, because of a torn knee ligament and signed veteran cornerback Terrell Buckley. . . . New Orleans quarterback Aaron Brooks participated in Tuesday's practice despite a strained right quadriceps and should be ready to start Sunday against Seattle.