Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he declined to publicly endorse Mike McCarthy to help keep Dan Quinn

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones scheduled an impromptu local radio interview Friday to address the statuses of members of his coaching staff.

Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan that head coach Mike McCarthy’s job was not “twisting in the wind” even after the owner/general manager declined to publicly endorse McCarthy’s future last week when asked. Jones also indicated that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn turned down a head-coaching offer to stay with the Cowboys.

“I believe that very much,” Jones said. “I know this: He is staying and being our coordinator for years to come. So I know he was the busiest coordinator out here being interviewed for jobs, and yes I’d say that specifically. It’s a real compliment to Mike, a compliment to us and a compliment to the organization.”

A person with knowledge of Quinn’s decision had confirmed Thursday to USA TODAY Sports that he would return for a second year with the Cowboys. Quinn interviewed for several of the league’s nine head-coaching vacancies, tied most closely to jobs in Denver and Chicago. The Broncos hired Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett while the Bears hired Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Quinn, who spent five-plus years as Falcons head coach, committed to return to the Cowboys before all vacancies in the league filled.

The Cowboys defense jumped from 28th in points allowed to seventh in one year under Quinn’s guidance, leading the lead in takeaways and interceptions.

More: Cowboys assure Mike McCarthy he will remain head coach in 2022 after Sean Payton steps down from Saints

More: Dallas Cowboys' Dan Quinn to remain as team's defensive coordinator after interviewing for head coach jobs

“I’d experienced seeing coaches turn down a head job for our situation so I really was trying hard meeting with Dan Quinn,” Jones said, citing former Cowboys coaching staff members Sean Payton and Jason Garrett’s decisions to stay in Dallas. “This is the thing I want to clear up: Mike was very involved in this process and very involved in trying to give us every chance to keep Dan Quinn. There’s no question it was a competitive situation and I couldn’t really get out and speak publicly because I didn’t want to push teams toward him.

“I wanted to keep (Quinn) for ourselves, and that’s what ended up happening.”

Jones said he also believes offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who’s reportedly a finalist for the Dolphins head coaching job, will return to the staff. Jones added that he hopes that’s the case. The Cowboys led the league in offensive yardage and points scored despite late-season struggles to maintain rhythm.

Jones said despite his close relationship with Payton, who announced his departure from the Saints this week, the owner had not spoken with Payton about a Cowboys reunion.

Speculation had swirled about McCarthy’s future with Payton’s departure, fueled all the more so by Jones’ interview last week expressing intense frustration with the Cowboys’ early postseason exit and inability to capitalize on what Jones believed was a roster talented and healthy enough to contend.

“If I thought changing out men at any level would improve us,” Jones had said on radio, “I would change it out.” This came mere minutes after declining to confirm McCarthy’s future in Dallas.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy

A person with knowledge of conversations told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that the Cowboys had assured Mike McCarthy he is their head coach in 2022 despite noncommittal public remarks. The assurance came as early as in conversations after the Cowboys’ 23-17 wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers and as recently as this week after Saints coach Sean Payton announced his retirement, the person said while speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the information.

McCarthy was “focusing on exit interviews and evaluations of players and staff,” the person said, conducting business as usual internally while speculation swirled externally.

Jones added Friday that McCarthy’s job security is no less sure with head-coaching experience like Quinn and Payton potentially available next offseason. He said McCarthy advocated for Quinn’s return rather than fearing it and “there’s no one person indispensable as far as winning a Super Bowl is concerned.”

“Mike did everything he could do to help us get, keep and extend Dan Quinn,” Jones said. “He’s not into worrying about that. He’s the head coach, we worked in unison and worked great together, basically just doing our jobs.

“Heck yeah, he’ll be involved in the minutiae and every way we can to improve our team. I say that deliberately because he is the head coach and that’s what we do.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein https://twitter.com/JoriEpstein

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jerry Jones says he was mum on Mike McCarthy because of Dan Quinn