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Lincoln Riley: It's not a goal of mine to coach in the NFL

It would be impossible to state with any level of confidence how many college football head and assistant coaches view the NFL as the ultimate endpoint of their career, but it's certainly a sizable chunk. And for those coaches, that desire is fueled by two separate but sometimes intertwining desires: 1) to prove yourself at the highest level of football, and 2) to get away from the never-ending grind of recruiting.

But what if you don't feel the need to prove yourself at the professional level, and what if you like recruiting? And what if you've got a pretty dadgum job right now?

You would be Lincoln Riley, who was asked by Dan Patrick on Thursday if coaching in the NFL is a bucket list item for him.

"No, no, no, it's not," Riley said. "I got into this thing expecting to be a high school coach. I started out my coaching career early on, while I was still playing, and that's what I wanted to do. Not in my wildest dreams did I even think that something like this would have happened, so I don't know that I have a bucket list. I just try to make the most out of every situation I've been in. I know that there's a thousand other people, a million other people that would want to be in the same situation, so I just try to appreciate each one for what it is in that moment."

While everyone in the football world has pegged Oklahoma's head coach for this job or that job, Riley has consistently maintained he's plenty happy in Norman with no plans to leave. Now, Riley has also been careful not to proclaim he'll retire in crimson and cream -- he is only 36 years old after all -- but even if he does harbor a secret desire to see if he can still average 10 yards a play against the best defenses football has to offer, there's no rush to leave for the NFL right now. Again, he's only 36 years old. The elephant in this room is that the Dallas Cowboys job may very well come open in January. Jason Garrett's contract expires at the conclusion of this season, and the consensus seems to be Garrett needs to reach the NFC Championship to keep his job. Now, it's one thing to shake your head at the hypothetical prospect of being [Insert Random NFL team here] head coach. It's another for a kid from Muleshoe, Texas, to turn down Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. At the same time, one of Riley's mentors is Barry Switzer, a guy who's been the coach of the Sooners and the Cowboys and would -- and has, repeatedly -- told him life is better in Norman. (Switzer literally lives a block from OU's campus today.)

Jerry could offer Riley a raise, but Riley's already underpaid and likely to receive a raise from his $6.4 million salary at OU anyway. If you're a kid from Muleshoe, Texas who saw yourself making, oh, $80,000 as the head coach of a 3A high school in the Texas Panhandle, is there really a difference between $8 million and $12 million?

Riley could very well change his mind in 2033, in 2027, or even in January 2020. But as we sit here today, he sounds very much like a coach who knows he's got a great job and has no intent to give it up.