The links and lakes were appealing to Jack Del Rio, just not as enticing as the green grass and white lines of the football field where he’s spent most of his life.
So, after briefly contemplating sitting out the 2012 season, Del Rio decided to jump right back into the NFL fray, replacing Dennis Allen as Denver’s defensive coordinator this week.
He could have sat back and relaxed while earning the $5 million remaining on his contract when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired him in November.
Now, the Jaguars will pay him the difference between that total and his salary in Denver.
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“Yeah, I thought a lot about it,” Del Rio said of sitting out the season. “I had a lot of advice from my friends who are professionals out there.”
They all told him to stay away from the game and take a sabbatical from all those stressful Sundays at the stadium.
“But I love to compete,” said Del Rio, a former linebacker for the Saints, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings before embarking on a coaching career.
NEW RAIDERS BOSS
Reggie McKenzie started researching Dennis Allen as a potential coaching candidate this past season when he first heard the Oakland Raiders might hire him as a general manager.
He talked to some of Allen’s former players and coaching colleagues and got only rave reviews. When McKenzie sat down with Allen two weeks ago in Denver for his first interview, he knew he had found his man,
“The bottom line, he was what the doctor ordered,” McKenzie said at a news conference to introduce Allen. “He understood the big picture as far as putting a plan together, how to do this, this and this. We went over everything. How you treat people, how you treat players, getting a staff together. It was all right in line (with) the way I was thinking.”
With speculation pointing to McKenzie hiring one of his former colleagues in Green Bay to be his first head coach, he instead turned to the 39-year-old Allen, who had just one year of experience as a defensive coordinator in Denver and had never been a head coach at any level.
He starts his first head coaching job in Oakland with the task of turning around a franchise that has gone nine straight seasons without a winning record or a playoff berth while going through a revolving door of head coaches. Allen is the seventh head coach for the Raiders since 2003, but he is the first to be hired since longtime managing general partner Al Davis died in October.
BENGAL IN COURT
Cincinnati Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson has pleaded not guilty to marijuana trafficking.
Simpson entered the plea in Kenton County Circuit Court in Covington, Ky. A grand jury indicted the four-year veteran on one count of marijuana trafficking in excess of 8 ounces on Jan. 19.
Simpson has been under investigation since September when agents from California tracked a package shipped to his northern Kentucky home. They said it contained 21/2 pounds of marijuana. Authorities said a search of Simpson’s home also turned up 6 more pounds of marijuana, smoking pipes and scales.
The Buffalo Bills have re-signed restricted free agent long snapper Garrison Sanborn. … The Kansas City Chiefs hired Tom McMahon to replace Steve Hoffman as special teams coach. … Jim Caldwell is the new quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens. … Phil Emery is the new Chicago Bears general manager.