Dan Quinn said he told Mike McCarthy he’d leave Cowboys “if it’s easier for me to go”

Dan Quinn was a candidate for several head coaching vacancies this offseason, but he announced he would be returning for a second season as the Cowboys defensive coordinator before all of those positions were filled.

Quinn told Jori Epstein of USA Today that “there will be a time when I’m definitely interested” in being a head coach for the second time, but wasn’t “quite ready” to take that step this year. Quinn said he felt there was a lot to accomplish with the Cowboys defense and many others have noted that he could have a chance to move one step up the ladder in Dallas should Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decide to let Mike McCarthy go.

That prospect could be a reason for tension between the two men, but McCarthy has dismissed that idea. Quinn recounted a conversation with McCarthy that saw him offer to step aside if his presence made the current head coach uncomfortable.

“I was like, ‘Hey man, let’s talk about it and see what you think,’” Quinn said. “‘If it’s easier for to me go, just say the word and I’m gone.’ Then he kind of laughed and said, ‘You know, if this was 10 years ago, I’d say yeah, it would help for you to go. But I don’t want to say that right now. Because I think winning is better with you here.’”

None of that is likely to quash speculation about McCarthy’s future should the Cowboys get off to a slow start and Quinn did note that the lessons learned from his time as the Falcons head coach leaves him “able to hit the ground running with a fast start” when he does get a second chance in a top job.