Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, scheduled to interview for the Bucs' head coaching vacancy today in Tampa, instead withdrew his name from consideration.
Phillips told the Houston Chronicle on Thursday night, "I want to be here and don't want to be a distraction." The news was first reported by ESPN.
The news came a few hours after Phillips, who was fired as coach of the Cowboys eight games into the 2010 season, said he was going through with the interview despite feeling a strong bond with the Texans and suggestions by fans that the timing — ahead of Sunday's AFC division playoff game at Baltimore — was problematic.
"My first priority is to be here," Phillips said earlier Thursday. "I like it here. I love it here. We've had such a magical year, and we're going to keep it going. So that's my first choice. But I am going to take the interview and take it from there."
Phillips, who also has coached the Bills and Broncos, was not considered a leading candidate to replace the fired Raheem Morris. But it's not clear what prompted his change of heart.
Phillips was to be the fourth former NFL head coach to interview with Tampa Bay.
Already, the Bucs have spoken with Mike Sherman (Packers), Brad Childress (Vikings) and Marty Schottenheimer (Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers). Tampa Bay also spoke with Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.
The Bucs are expected to interview more candidates, including some who work for teams still in the playoffs.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected]