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Garrett: Marinelli Wants to Return

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 4: Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli of the Dallas Cowboys on the field during warmups before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 4, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

    Let this be a lesson that you shouldn't believe everything read on the Internet, even when it comes from a reliable source like Pro Football Talk.

    The website reported within hours of Sunday's game, and the Cowboys' season, ending that free agent defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who turned the Cowboys' defense from a laughingstock to a respectable unit, would be leaving to join his longtime friend Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay as the Bucs' defensive coordinator.

    That would've been a huge blow to the Cowboys as Marinelli was arguably the league's top assistant coach in 2014, taking the NFL's worst defense from a year ago that happened to lose its three best players and making them a middle-of-the-pack defense. With the Cowboys' offensive prowess, that was more than enough to lead the Cowboys to a 13-win season and on the brink of an NFC Championship Game appearance.

    On Tuesday in his end-of-season press conference, Garrett, who's a free agent himself, said he's spoken with Marinelli and when asked if Marinelli has expressed interest in returning to Dallas, Garrett simply replied "yes."

    To debunk the PFT report, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler cited sources saying the Bucs plan on retaining their defensive coordinator, former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier.

    That'd be a great bit of news for Garrett, assuming he returns as the team's head coach, which seems like a safe assumption.

    "Rod's just done a fantastic job, not only for our defense but our whole football team," Garrett said in the press conference. "He made our players better. He made our coaches better. He's just a great football coach, and he's a great person to have in your organization. He represents all the right things and I thought the defense played remarkably well. We had a lot of questions coming into this season and we had some injuries and at every turn that group just continued to overcome the different adversities that cropped up and handled the situations well and played very well."