Dan Mullen addresses NFL rumors ahead of the Orange Bowl

For a day, at least, Florida Gators fans can breathe easier about the future of their head football coach.

Dan Mullen’s name has been floating around as a potential candidate for the Dallas Cowboys hypothetical job opening (current head coach Jason Garrett still has the job).

In just two short years Mullen has won 20 games and brought the Florida Gators football team and brand back to national prominence. He’s still in the beginning stages of building his program and it’s already a success.

Last Wednesday, Mullen didn’t give a resounding “no thank you” when asked about the Cowboys or the NFL. Monday afternoon Mullen did just that.

“I think everyone knows I plan on being here a long time,” Mullen said.

Coaches have gone from the collegiate ranks to the professional ranks, it’s not new but it hasn’t always worked out. Nick Saban famously left LSU shortly after winning a National Championship to coach the Miami Dolphins. That was a catastrophe and led him back to the college ranks at Alabama. Chip Kelly left a good thing in Oregon to flame out with two different NFL teams. Pete Carrol might be the best success story in recent memory, but he appears to be an outlier.

As a head football coach at a program like Florida, you’re in control of everything. The buck stops at your desk. You control your roster, the coaching staff, pre-game meals, uniforms, you name it. That isn’t the case at the NFL level and it certainly isn’t the case in Dallas, where Jerry Jones is the shot caller.

“I know how it works here. I like it here,” Mullen said. “I’m kind of, I don’t want to make it sound too big but you’re kind of the owner, GM, Vice President and head coach (in college). I’ve got a lot of control here. You’re in control of everything.”

It’s the NFL and there may not be a more recognizable brand than the Dallas Cowboys in the entire league. If Jerry Jones does fire Jason Garrett and gives Mullen a call he’s likely to listen. It would give him another chance to coach Dak Prescott, which is likely where the rumors even begin. Garrett makes $6 million dollars, roughly what Mullen makes and the Cowboys could offer Mullen a raise — Jones’ pockets are deep if not endless. Mullen is in the second year of a six-year $36.6 million dollar contract but with NFL rumors swirling don’t be surprised to see an extension and raise come from Florida soon. Could Mullen be lured away by the shine of a Cowboys’ helmet or the NFL logo? Sure. He seems to be genuinely happy where he is, with what he’s building and the trajectory of the program he’s building.

Right now Mullen is wrapped up in recruiting as the Gators close in on Signing Day. He’s preparing for his second consecutive New Year’s Six Bowl game and he’s happy.

Everybody looks at it and knows the situation we’re in, knows the type of program this is,” he said. “This is not a place you’re looking to leave.”

Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC