Bill Parcells, former coach of the New York Giants, has entered into discussions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about taking over the coaching job there, according to a published report quickly denied by the team's owner yesterday.
The Orlando Sentinel quoted undisclosed sources yesterday saying that Parcells wants to give up his television commentator's job and return to coaching next year with the Bucs.
Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse yesterday emphatically denied he or his representatives were interviewing Parcells.
"I categorically deny the story," says Culverhouse. "I have not spoken to Bill Parcells or his representatives and I have not authorized anyone to do so on behalf of the Buccaneers.
"I realize that when a team has a record such as ours that rumors will circulate. But as I have previously said, anything reported as fact in this area between now and at least the end of the season is false."
Culverhouse has said in the past he will not comment on the status of first-year coach Richard Williamson until the end of the season. Williamson has a 3-12 record since replacing Ray Perkins last year. He has a two-year contract.
* LIONS: Mike Utley, the offensive lineman paralyzed from the chest down, has been moved from Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, the Lions said.
Utley sustained a spinal cord injury while blocking on a fourth-quarter touchdown during the Lions' 21-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 17.
He underwent surgery the following day at Henry Ford. Dr. Philip Mayer, the physician who performed the operation, said Utley never would walk again.
Dr. Nancy DeSantis, Utley's rehabilitation physician, said the player has limited his visitors to close friends and family. DeSantis has tentatively scheduled a news briefing for 10 a.m. Monday at the Rehabilitation Institute.
"His spirits are very good," DeSantis said.
* RAMS: A decision on whether he will remain the coach will be made after the season, John Robinson said.
". . . The Rams as an organization, myself included, will sit down and try to plot out our future," said Robinson, whose team has lost six straight to fall to 3-9.
"I believe if we can give evidence that we can bring this football team back, then there's a good chance that this staff will stay."
The Rams suffered season-ending ankle injuries to tight end Jim Price and linebacker Roman Phifer in Monday night's 33-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Two weeks ago, the Rams, who play host to the Redskins on Sunday, lost left tackle Gerald Perry and rookie cornerback Robert Bailey for the season.
"Obviously, the season is a loss but . . . we can attack these last four games aggressively," Robinson said. "We're going to work at what we're doing, try to improve. We'll try to deal with it play by play and day by day and see if we can get as many players as we can improving."