Landry Announces He Will Never Coach Again : After Losing Cowboys' Job, He Says It Would Be Hard to Work Anywhere Else

Associated Press

Tom Landry will leave the Dallas Cowboys organization and never coach again, he said Sunday, a day after he was replaced as the only coach the team has had in 29 seasons.

"It wouldn't be fair to keep me around hanging over everybody's shoulder," Landry said in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.

"I wouldn't think I would coach again, because it would just be hard, not being in the Cowboys' blue," he said. "People will forget me pretty quick."

Landry, 64, was removed Saturday when Arkansas oilman Jerry Jones bought the team. University of Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson, a friend and former college teammate of Jones', will be the Cowboys' new coach.

Johnson, who led the Hurricanes to the 1987 college championship, has never coached in the National Football League. Johnson said Sunday he will not comment until a news conference Tuesday.

Jones and team president Tex Schramm flew from Dallas to Austin, Tex., Saturday to meet with Landry and tell him of the change.

"No one had to tell me," Landy said. "I would have had to be pretty stupid not to know when they got on the airplane to come see me. They could have saved the trip because all they did was tell me I was fired."

Landry took over the Cowboys when they were a ragged expansion team in 1960 and led them to the Super Bowl five times, winning two of them.

Under Landry, the Cowboys had an NFL-record 20 consecutive winning seasons. The team sputtered the last three seasons, sinking to a 3-13 record in 1988, its second worst.

"I probably should have gotten out, but I really enjoyed the challenge of bringing a team to that game," Landry said. "In fact, I probably enjoy the challenge of it more than the actual game.

"I knew I was taking a chance, but sometimes it's not what you know as much as, in this case, who you knew. And I didn't know Jerry Jones."

Landry's contract calls for some $800,000 this year, and Jones left the door open for the winner of more than 250 games to stay around in a yet-to-be-named capacity.

But Landry said he will leave. He spent Sunday cleaning out his desk.

"I wanted to get it ready for the new guy when he comes in," Landry said. "And I won't be around to get in the way."

Landry said he and his wife, Alicia, probably will go on a vacation, probably to Palm Springs, Calif., where he likely will play golf.

"I guess I might get together with Darrell (Royal) and the boys and get my golf game in shape," Landry said.

Landry said the reports of Jones' acquisition and Johnson's hiring "could have gone a little better. But I'm not going to dwell on it."

Alicia Landry told the AP: "It's a sad thing and we really don't have any immediate future plans."

Schramm spoke to Landry Sunday and said: "I think Tom is feeling better. He knows it wasn't his doing."

Jones described his 40-minute meeting with Landry earlier Saturday as "a very awkward and trying thing. It's the most inadequate I've ever been in my life. If you had graded my conversation, I would have gotten an F."

"Tom Landry is the Cowboys, and just like Tex (Schramm) is the Cowboys. And we'll have to address that at a later date," Jones said. "But let me tell you this, Jimmy Johnson would be the first to tell you he couldn't carry Tom's water bucket."

He added: "In time, Tom might be like a great big gorilla, getting what he wants from Jerry Jones. However, I would not have taken the job without Jimmy Johnson as my head coach."

Johnson, who wasn't at the news conference Saturday night when H.R. (Bum) Bright said he sold the team to Jones for a reported $140 million, flew back to Miami.

Schramm, who was the architect of the Cowboys and actually hired Landry for the original owner, Clint Murchison Jr., survived the new sale.

Jones called himself "an apprentice of Tex Schramm."

However, Jones made it plain that he will be taking the first chair at the owners' meetings.

"I'll be there on the front row, however, there are no rules that say you can't take two people," Jones said. "Tex is used to being up front. He's just a little behind right now."

Asked what he paid for the team, Jones said: "That's between Bum and me, but I don't mind telling you I'm going to need some lead in my back pocket. I'm going to leave Dallas lighter than when I came in."

While Jones will be the majority partner, there will be five minority owners, including Ed Smith of Houston, who had 27% under Bright's ownership. The other minority owners include Charles Wily, Sam Wily and Evan Wily--who are affiliated with U.S. Cafes, owners of the Bonanza Steakhouse chain--and Russell Glass.

Jones said he is moving to Dallas and will have an office at the team's headquarters at Valley Ranch, becoming the team's first hands-on owner.

"I'm going to examine each facet of the organization," Jones said. "The Cowboys will be my life."

Jones' philosophy already was evident Sunday at the team's headquarters as members of his staff scurried about learning the ropes in the vast complex.

Attorneys for Jones and Bright also were meeting to iron out the final paper work before the sale is submitted to the NFL office for approval.

Jones' bid is subject to approval from 21 of the 28 NFL owners.

Former Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach said fans will forget about Landry's final season.

"They will look at the 28 years before that and they will remember he was the finest coach who ever coached football," Staubach said. "That is how the legacy will end."

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