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'Next Sunday' keeps Parcells motivated

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ By lunchtime Thursday, Bill Parcells already had five voice mails from friends, all with pretty much the same message.

They're saying, `Hang in there. Do your best,' he said. ``It's like a funeral.''

The condolence calls are coming because his Dallas Cowboys are 3-6, with five losses in their last six games. More people have been dialing since a horrendous performance against Philadelphia before a national television audience Monday night. The 49-21 loss was among the most lopsided losses of Parcells' career, the third time this season that's been said.

While Parcells appreciates the good intentions especially when they're expressed by former players trying to cheer him up he doesn't want to get dragged down by what's gone wrong. He prefers to absorb himself in trying to get the next one right.

There's always next Sunday,'' he said.That's the saving grace. It really is. Even if next Sunday don't turn out well, there'll always be the next Sunday. You have another opportunity to do something. That's what you look forward to.''

Parcells tries to set the same agenda with his players. Although he told them to aim for 4-4 when the team was 2-4, now he's trying to keep them locked into the one-game-at-a-time mind-set. This week, he's talked only about playing at Baltimore on Sunday, avoiding speeches about what he hopes to accomplish the final seven games.

I think that is one of the things you have to be very careful of,'' he said.Around here right now the state of the union is the priority for a lot of other people. That can't be my priority. At some point and time we can address that, but certainly not right now.''

Parcells isn't happy that this poor season has sparked talk that he might quit coaching after this season. Parcells scolded ESPN analyst Steve Young for talking about it on the air, saying, ``What does he know? I haven't talked to him in two years. He doesn't know anybody I know.''

However, given the chance to set the record straight, Parcells didn't make any declarations.

I'm working. That's all I can tell you,'' he said.I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball. OK? I don't have a crystal ball. I'm trying to get to Baltimore. That's what I'm doing. That's what coaches do. It's football season. That's what you do.

``When football season is over, you think about what you have to do next year. It's as simple as that. So, just because somebody is running their mouth with no basis for that I can't respond to all of those.''

Parcells, who has two years left on his contract, has walked away from his three previous NFL jobs under unique circumstances.

He left the New York Giants after winning the Super Bowl because of health problems. A power struggle led to his departure from the New England Patriots following a Super Bowl appearance, then he gave up coaching the New York Jets to concentrate on being the general manager.

Parcells said his health is fine and that he monitors it closely during the season to make sure the long hours, high stress and poor eating habits that go along with coaching aren't taking a toll.

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