The Dallas Cowboys and coach Jason Garrett officially parted ways Sunday.
The Cowboys announced that Garrett’s contract would not be renewed after days of speculation and reported meetings between the coach and team owner Jerry Jones.
Dallas reportedly had been interviewing candidates for the coaching job even as Garrett was still officially the head coach.
“We are extremely grateful to Jason Garrett for his more than 20 years of service to the Dallas Cowboys as a player, assistant coach and head coach,” team owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.
“His level of commitment, character and dedication to this organization has been outstanding at every stage of his career. In his nine full years as a head coach, he guided our team to three division championships while also having them in position to play for the NFC East title in the last game of the year in four other seasons. His tenure of leadership will be characterized by his ability to produce teams that always played with great effort, emotion and passion, and he represented our organization with great pride, loyalty and respect.”
Garrett’s contract was set to expire on Jan. 14. His future was in doubt after the Cowboys lost in Week 16 and 17 losing a shot at the NFC East title. While it appeared he was going to be let go, the team didn’t immediately make the decision, fueling speculation and rumor for about a week.
After the team failed to make the playoffs, Garrett reportedly met with Jones on Monday as players cleaned out their lockers. The two were set to meet again on Thursday to settle his coaching status but the meeting never took place, ESPN reported.
While Garrett publicly expressed his desire to stay on as head coach, Jones hinted early last month that Garrett would still be coaching next year — although possibly with another NFL team.
“The problem is, you don’t know who can guarantee you a Super Bowl. I’ve seen a lot of coaches, I’ve seen their names mentioned but they can’t guarantee me a Super Bowl or guarantee my players the Super bowl,” he told KRLD radio.
He continued: “There’s no exclusive — nobody’s got the exclusive skills to get the job done so that collectively you can win a Super Bowl but there are qualified people. Jason Garrett is one of them and in my opinion, Jason Garrett will be coaching in the NFL next year.”
Garrett replaced Wade Phillips as interim head coach during the middle of the 2010 season. After he officially got the job, Dallas made the playoffs three times but failed to make it further than the divisional round. This season marked the fourth time Dallas has gone 8-8 under Garrett.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.