Without Cowboys job, Derek Dooley was ready to sit out

AP

The University of Tennessee is contractually obligated to throw away a lot of money on Derek Dooley over the next four years, and that makes it easy for Dooley to pick and choose what he does with himself.

Dooley was fired as Tennessee’s head coach at the end of the 2012 season, and he had one of those absurdly lucrative contracts that big-time football schools routinely give their coaches. That means Tennessee is obligated to write Dooley a check for just under $105,000 a month, every month for the next four years, for a total of $5 million. Which means he easily could have sat back and lived the good life, rather than working.

And Dooley says that’s exactly what he planned to do — until the Cowboys called him and made him an offer to become their new wide receivers coach.

I wasn’t looking to get a job, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was just a tremendous opportunity and if I didn’t feel like I could help,” Dooley told DallasCowboys.com. “There were a lot of opportunities in December and January, but when you went through what I did, I wasn’t going to just take any opportunity, and this was certainly a special one. . . . I wasn’t really looking for anything, and quite frankly this opportunity was one that really excited me and I couldn’t turn down.”

Dooley said that after he was fired in late November, he spent the month of December trying to recover mentally, and then the offer from the Cowboys came along at the right time in January.

“I felt like that I couldn’t do a good job to whoever I went until I got cleansed, so to speak,” Dooley said. “You have so many emotions when things like that happen, from disappointment to anger to frustration to blame, and it’s important to really cleanse all that out and start looking forward. The train’s passed, you can’t look back.”

So Dooley will move forward. And collect paychecks from two employers.