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Haley Earns Extension


Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who received a contract extension Tuesday, yells during a game this season.

Bill Parcells came calling for Todd Haley, but in the end, it was the Cardinals who answered.

Parcells, the new man in charge of the Miami Dolphins, had scheduled his protégé Haley for a head coaching interview in Florida. Before Haley could leave, however, the Cards gave their offensive coordinator a contract extension that puts Haley's deal through 2010 and places his salary among the top-paid offensive coordinators in the NFL.

Financial terms were not released.

"When this is your life, you don't necessarily start out to be a head coach but as you go along the road and it starts to come into a possibility of something you could attain, it is something you start to think about," Haley said. "It comes up, you think about it and you get excited. 'Can I do it?' And I think I can be a good head coach.

"It is a tough thing to turn down. But it was an easy thing in that we have so much ahead of us here. That's what really made it easier for me was the fact I saw what we have a chance to be."

The Dolphins, who have already interviewed Cowboys offensive line coach Tony Sparano, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, also wanted to bring in Haley.

But Haley and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt met Monday to talk about the situation, and eventually the Cards offered Haley a raise to stay put. Haley, who went through the interview process for a head coach last year in Dallas after Parcells resigned, then canceled his trip to Miami.

"Continuity and stability are important," Whisenhunt said, "especially when you are starting off like we are."

Haley helped direct a Cardinals' offense that scored 404 points this season, the second-highest total in franchise history.

Haley not only has had a hand in shaping the offense and calling plays for the Cardinals, but has also helped in the coaching for quarterbacks and receivers this season.

"All the little things the coaches and the players have to worry about (with a new staff), they don't have to worry about this year," Haley said. "As coaches, we were trying to mesh the systems of a bunch of Cowboys guys and a bunch of Steelers guys without a lot of time. … That's what I am most excited about, going through our playbook, the Arizona Cardinals playbook, and figuring out where to go from there."

The Cards are the second club this week to make such a move; the Browns gave offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski an extension and raise so Chudzinski backed away from an interview for the Ravens' head coaching job.

Whisenhunt said the desire for a team to go after one of the Cards' assistants was a "testament to the quality coaches we have."

Whisenhunt added that keeping Haley with an extension was a "testament to Michael (Bidwill) and Mr. (Bill) Bidwill."

Along those lines, the Cardinals will now wait to see if the Redskins – whose head coaching job opened Tuesday when Joe Gibbs stepped down – have an interest in interviewing assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm for the job.

Whisenhunt said he had not yet heard anything about a Grimm interview but added it was still early in the process.

Haley, meanwhile, will wait for another chance in the future.

"Again, I think (head coaching) is something I can be pretty good at," Haley said. "But I'm not in a hurry. I want to stay here and perfect things, get more wins, get a couple playoff games and wins. That's really what's important to me now. And that's why I made the choices I made."

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 1/8/08. Updated 1/8/08

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