Dating back to 1997, immediately after his professional playing days were done after stops with the Saints, Chiefs, Cowboys, Vikings and Dolphins Jack Del Rio jumped right into coaching and spent his entire coaching career in the NFL.
But Del Rio says he's open to being a college head coach. More specifically, he told ESPN Radio that he has an interest in becoming the head coach at his alma mater - USC.
A coach with NFL head coaching experience, and a decorated alum expressing interest in a job that isn't currently open can often come off the wrong way, so Del Rio was sure to clear the air about his interest.
“I’m fully supportive of Coach Helton. I’m supporting him. I’m not undermining him," Del Rio
Jack Del Rio on ESPN radio: "I'm fully supportive of Coach Helton. I'm supporting him. I'm not undermining him. If and when there was ever was anything, yeah I would be interested." #USC
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 10, 2019
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"If and when there ever was anything, yeah I would be interested.”
After a decorated college career as a linebacker at USC (in which he was also selected in the MLB draft) and professional playing career in the NFL, Del Rio got his start as a strength coach for a season before earning a whistle and coaching linebackers for four seasons. He cut his teeth as a defensive coordinator with the Panthers in 2002 and a year later was named head coach of the Jaguars.
Del Rio led the Jags for nine seasons, leading them to the playoffs and double-digit wins twice before being fired in 2011 after a 3-8 start to leave Jacksonville with a 68-71 overall mark.
In 2015, after a few seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Broncos, Del Rio was named the head coach of the Raiders, where he went 7-9, 12-4 (and a loss in the AFC Wild-Card game) and 6-10 before decision makers decided to put together a package to lure Jon Gruden back to the sidelines for the Silver and Black.
With Clay Helton widely considered to be coaching for his job this season, chatter will continue about potential candidates for the USC job. Del Rio was a name on a lot of radars well before this recent statement to ESPN Radio, and will continue to be long before. Helton can quiet the job security talk with a win a week, and building off last week's convincing 45-20 win over Stanford with a win on the road at BYU this weekend is a great place to start.
The Trojans then play three straight ranked teams in Utah at home, Washington on the road, and Notre Dame in South Bend.