Dallas Cowboys tight ends coach John Garrett has accepted a job to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers new receivers coach. Garrett worked in Dallas for six seasons, arriving when his brother, Jason Garrett, became offensive coordinator. John Garrett added the title of passing game coordinator to his title in 2011.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity in Tampa,” Garrett said. “We had a had a great time interviewing down there, getting to know coach [Greg] Schiano more and more and the offensive coaches and the rest of the staff of the Buccaneers. It really went well, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity and just really excited to get started working for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
Though Garrett still was under contract with the Cowboys, Dallas already had OK’d his leaving. He and other coaches had been allowed to look for other jobs, and Garrett had applied for the University of Delaware head coaching job. The opportunity with the Bucs came last week.
Garrett, 47, will leave his brothers Jason and Judd, the Cowboys’ director of pro scouting, but he said he will miss his tight ends room just as much. Garrett said he developed a special relationship with Jason Witten, John Phillips and James Hanna. Witten left for Hawaii and his eighth Pro Bowl on Sunday.
“My six years with the Cowboys have been fantastic,” Garrett said. “I want to thank the [Jerry] Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization. The opportunity to work with the coaches here on staff and everyone in the administration has been fantastic. I loved coming to work every day. But most importantly, working with the players in my position. The tight ends are just fabulous people, really good players and do it the right way. They love football. They prepare. They execute. They have just tremendous integrity and character. It was a great, great tight end room from Jason Witten to John Phillips to James Hanna. I just loved coming in and coaching them every day. They were like sponges, soaking everything in and being prepared for the games and the practices. I really appreciate that and the fact that they gave everything they had.”
Garrett has seen his career come back to where it started. He began his post-playing career as a pro personnel assistant for the Bucs, staying in that role from 1992-94. He worked with the Bucs receivers, too, during the week those two seasons and assisted the defensive staff on game days.
When he left the Bucs for Cincinnati in 1995, he was replaced in Tampa by Mark Dominik. Dominik now is the team’s general manager.
Garrett’s tie to Schiano is his father. Jim Garrett was a long-time NFL scout whose path crossed several times with Schiano while Schiano was in the college ranks.
“Greg Schiano is a fantastic person, and a great football coach, and he loves football and does everything the right way,” Garrett said. “I’m really excited to learn more from him and be part of his program.”
Garrett will replace Bucs receivers coach P.J. Fleck, who was hired as the head coach at Western Michigan. Garrett inherits Vincent Jackson, who, in his first season in Tampa, earned a Pro Bowl berth with 72 catches for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns.
“Vincent Jackson is a fantastic player and from what I hear and what I saw when I had the interview, he is arguably a better person,” Garrett said. “All the coaches there think he’s an outstanding leader, a fantastic worker. He loves to be coached and loves football. They had a lot of comparisons to this is our [Jason] Witten, how he just loves it and as a star player sets the tone and pace for how to work and prepare. I got a chance to visit with him in the course of the interview and that’s exactly the case. I developed a good rapport, and I’m looking forward to working with such a talented guy.”
Garrett is the fifth assistant to leave Dallas, continuing a restructuring of the coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was let go, replaced by Monte Kiffin. Defensive line coach Brian Baker also was not retained, replaced by Rod Marinelli.
Running backs coach Skip Peete also was let go, and he landed in Chicago. The Cowboys have not replaced him yet. Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis’ job also has not been filled. DeCamillis also joined the Bears staff.
Wes Phillips, who has been on the Cowboys staff for six years, could be considered for John Garrett’s vacated job. Phillips has spent the past two seasons as the assistant offensive line coach.
The Cowboys also are unsettled at play caller, though the job could go to offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the second time in his career. Witten also was a finalist in 2007 when Jason Taylor won.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Browns tackle Joe Thomas are the other finalists, announced at halftime of the AFC Championship. The NFL will announce the winner Feb. 2, the night before Super Bowl XLVII, during its NFL Honors prime-time special.
Witten is involved in a number of charities, but his passion is The Jason Witten SCORE Foundation. SCORE, which stands for Support, Community, Overcome, Rebuild, Educate, supports families affected by domestic violence.
He has funded several building projects in Texas and his native Tennessee, and the SCOREkeepers program is a unique initiative placing full-time, trained male mentors in battered women’s shelters throughout Texas. The mentors demonstrate positive male behavior to the children in these shelters in an effort to break the cycle of violence that plagues families affected by abuse. JWSF has placed SCOREkeepers in six shelters across Texas, and Witten hosts children from these shelters for special events throughout the year. The foundation’s newest domestic violence prevention program, “Coaching Boys Into Men,” trains high school coaches to educate their players on the dangers of dating violence.
Witten set two NFL records this season for most catches by a tight end in a game (18) and most catches by a tight end in a season (110).
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which is based on a player’s community service as well as excellence on the field, is given annually. The Cowboys have had two winners in the 43-year history of the award: Roger Staubach won it in 1978 and Troy Aikman in 1997.
The Man of the Year’s designated charity receives a $20,000 donation in his name. Charities selected by the other 31 team finalists each receive a $1,000 donation. The three finalists for the award also receive an additional $5,000 each.
RELATED: Payton Award finalists: Fitzgerald, Thomas, Witten
NEW YORK (AP) – Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys are finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
The award will be presented in New Orleans, when The Associated Press announces the winners of its annual NFL honors, including Most Valuable Player, in a two-hour prime-time special on Super Bowl eve.
The show, “NFL Honors,” will be broadcast on CBS on Feb. 2 at 9 p.m.
The only league award that recognizes a player’s community service as well as his playing excellence, the Walter Payton winner will have a $20,000 donation made in his name to his favorite charity.
Fitzgerald, Thomas and Witten were chosen from among the 32 team nominees, all of whom receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 donation in their name.
The selection panel includes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Connie Payton, widow of the Hall of Fame running back.