IRVING, Texas - Add special teams coach to the list of vacancies for the Cowboys. The team will be looking for a replacement for Joe DeCamillis, who has been allowed to leave for Chicago.
While DeCamillis did not get the head coaching position he interviewed for last week, the Bears did offer him the assistant head coach/special teams coordinator position. DeCamillis will coach under newly-hired head coach Mark Trestman.
This year, the Cowboys allowed DeCamillis to leave despite having another year left under his contract. Last year, they denied him the chance to take the assistant head coach/special teams position in Oakland and denied the same opportunity in Oakland as well.
"I'm excited about it. It should be a good opportunity for me," said DeCamillis, who spent four years with the Cowboys. "It's definitely been a positive experience in Dallas. I definitely wish we would've been able to get over the hump and get into the playoffs more. We had some success at times, but overall we just didn't get the job done."
DeCamillis will now go to a place where special teams has been consistent over the years, especially in the return game. While Devin Hester is considered one of the all-time great return specialists, they've also put Johnny Knox in the Pro Bowl and Danieal Manning was a quality returner in his time with Chicago. DeCamillis said he's excited if he can finally be on the same side as Hester.
"Yeah, that'll be nice for sure," DeCamillis said. "He's one of the best. I just don't know about his situation right now and if he'll be back. But I sure hope so. He's an explosive player and there aren't many like him that ever done it. I'm glad to be on his side and not having to worry about kicking to him."
There have been reports from Chicago the Bears could part ways with Hester, who has always wanted a more active role on offense.
Whether or not Hester returns, DeCamillis knows he has big shoes to fill in Dave Toub, who left to become the Chiefs special teams coach.
"Dave is a good coach and he's done a great job with these players," DeCamillis said. "It's going to be a challenge just because they've been so good. But it always helps to have players."
DeCamillis has coached or coordinated special teams in the NFL for 25 seasons, including the last four seasons with the Cowboys. A player on his special teams unit has returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown in 16 of his last 19 seasons.
The Cowboys had no kick return touchdowns this season among the three players with at least 10 kick returns. They did, however, have a punt return touchdown from Dwayne Harris, who emerged as a legitimate special teams threat. Harris averaged 16.1 yards per return on 22 punt returns, taking the job from Dez Bryant.
Kicker Dan Bailey also thrived this season, going 29-of-31, missing only on two field goals of more than 50 yards. He hit a 51-yarder this season, and he finished tied for second in the league with a 93.5 field goal percentage.
DeCamillis becomes the fourth coach who will not return from last year's staff, along with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, running backs coach Skip Peete and assistant strength coach Walt Williams.