Former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells will meet today with Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse and is expected to finalize the same five-year, $6.5-million deal that he walked away from 10 days ago, the New York Daily News has learned from well-placed NFL sources.
The dizzying Parcells Sweepstakes took a unexpected turn when Parcells called Culverhouse Sunday to ask back into the Bucs' picture. And this time, it looks like it will get done.
Why the change of heart by Parcells? NFL sources say he felt pressured by the Bucs and the media to make too quick a decision at a time he wasn't ready to commit. In addition, there has been some concern over his health, although he has insisted it is not a factor. Parcells underwent angioplasty on Dec. 16 to clear a blocked artery.
* RAMS: Chuck Knox has agreed in principle to a four-year contract that would pay him between $600,000 and $700,000 per season and give him broad authority over the operations, sources close to the club told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
* GIANTS: The first two casualties in Ray Handley's recent effort to re-create New York in his image were not players, but assistant coaches.
The Giants announced that Handley on Monday had fired assistant head coach Ron Erhardt and tight ends coach Mike Pope, both of whom were assistants throughout Parcells' entire 1983-90 tenure.
Although these were the only two changes made, others are likely. Parcells has re-emerged as a candidate for Tampa Bay's head coaching job. If he gets the job, it's expected he'll add Erhardt, Pope and several other Giants assistants whom he hired and who know how to coach Parcells-style football.
* NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: The NFL, after a call from the Detroit Lions concerning the playing field at RFK Stadium, has called in the Turf Cop.
"They called me at about 1 o'clock and told me to get here as quickly as I could," said George Toma, the NFL's head groundskeeper. "I'm not here to boss anybody around. I'm here to help them make sure the playing surface is equal for both teams."