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by Mike Fisher    Fri, Jan 6, 2006, 07:35 PM

Friday at 4:06 p.m., Bill Parcells Time, the Cowboys announced that The Big Tuna would remain in Big D as the head coach. The contract extension doesn't exactly end the speculation about Parcells' future -- but it does delay it until two years from now, because owner Jerry Jones signed him to a deal that takes Parcells through 2007.

"I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue what we have started here," said Parcells in a statement. "The Cowboys organization has been the fairest of fair to me, and hopefully I can repay them with an improved performance."

"This is about continuity and building upon the pieces we have in place as an organization and as a football team," said Jones. "We aren’t where we want to be at this point, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction and feel very good about the future."

Parcells was already under contract to coach in '06, which would have been the final year of an existing deal that makes him among football's highest-paid coaches at $4 million-plus. The coach triggered speculation about his future by revealing a "need to evaluate'' his future, which is now secure.

Jones, for one, expressed again how much he believes Parcells is the right man for the job, both because of his energy level and his working relationship with the owner.

"As I have said for the past three years, I am encouraged by Bill’s enthusiasm and determination, and that hasn’t changed in any way," Jones said. "From a personal perspective I have enjoyed every aspect of our working relationship, and I am optimistic about the organization’s future."

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