While Oregon lost and Notre Dame nearly lost their head football coaches to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, it appears the coach of another FBS program was a priority for that NFL club as well.
Wednesday, Kevin Sumlin acknowledged to the San Antonio Express-News that he’s “had plenty of opportunities [for NFL jobs], both as an assistant coach and even as a head coach,” although the Texas A&M boss declined to get into any specifics regarding those opportunities. Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com did, though, reporting that the Eagles as well as Auburn offered their head-coaching vacancies to Sumlin.
Sumlin obviously turned down both opportunities — and netted a cool $1.1 million raise from A&M in the process — as the NFL team plucked Chip Kelly from the Ducks while the Tigers turned to Gus Malzahn to replace Gene Chizik. Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com actually takes the Sumlin/NFL line a bit further, tweeting that the coach was pursued by three pro teams this offseason. While Feldman doesn’t name the other two teams, a safe guess would be the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills, both of which chased college coaches — with the latter hiring Syracuse’s Doug Marrone — during their respective searches.
To Sumlin’s credit, he didn’t shy away from the NFL question and his future at that level.
“Maybe later — some time later,” said Sumlin when asked by the Express-News about moving up a weight class in football. “But it won’t be anytime soon. My family likes living here and I like living here. Heck, we just got here. People ask me to respond to the (NFL talk), and I say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ Because I remember what was being said at this time a year ago.
“I didn’t really respond to that last year, and there’s no reason to respond to this now.”
The fact that Sumlin would be a hot commodity at both the pro and collegiate levels is not exactly earth-shattering news. In his first year with the Aggies, in that program’s first year in the rough-and-tumble SEC, A&M handed BCS champion Alabama its lone loss as Sumlin capped an 11-2 debut season with a 28-point pounding of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. In his last season at Houston in 2011, the Cougars went 11-2 and were in the hunt for a BCS bid before losing in the Conference USA championship game.
Thanks to those successful stints, Sumlin will always be a hot commodity whenever the coaching carousel spins. It’ll be up to the 48-year-old to determine just how long he wants to hold off those overtures and remain in College Station.