Sport: Cowboys' Jerry Jones offers support for Mike McCarthy's job security, as well as a veiled threat

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Mike McCarthy was hoping that his job security wouldn't be a major talking point during Cowboys training camp.

He didn't get his wish, as Jerry Jones talked about it at length during Dallas' first news conference of the event.

Jones spoke candidly about McCarthy's status, as he has frequently over the last couple of seasons. While Jones offered McCarthy yet another vote of confidence, he also made it clear that there are other options for the Cowboys should Dallas fail to live up to expectations in 2022.

Let me be real clear: He wouldn't be sitting here today if I didn't think he was the man to lead this team to a Super Bowl. He would not be, and I have choices. That's not meant to be insensitive to anybody. That's a fact.

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"...and I have choices."

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McCarthy had to feel good about the first half of Jones' comments, but what started as a statement in support of the coach turned into something of a veiled threat. That's nothing new for McCarthy, whose job security was questioned frequently during Dallas' disappointing 2020 campaign and their first-round playoff exit against the 49ers during the 2022 NFL playoffs.

Video: Jerry Jones sends clear message on his support for Mike McCarthy at Cowboys training camp (NFL)

Still, Jones' comments served as an uncomfortable reminder to McCarthy that the owner knows he can replace the coach with ease if things don't go well for Dallas in 2022. And if Jones does take that route, he can probably attract a top-tier coaching candidate, as he hinted at.

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"You guys write about a lot of those choices and they were there for my use had I wanted them," Jones said.

It's worth noting that the Cowboys have been connected to Sean Payton in recent months, so that's likely who Jones is referencing. Payton has ties to the Cowboys as their former offensive coordinator, is friendly with Jones and just retired from his job coaching the Saints but acknowledged that he eventually wants to return to coaching.

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Of course, Jones has said that Payton shouldn’t be a "conversation piece" when discussing McCarthy's job security before. And if the Cowboys wanted Payton, they would have to trade for him, as the Saints still own his rights for three more years despite his retirement. So, perhaps that's why Jones has dodged speculation about eventually pursuing Payton.

Either way, it's hard to get a read on Jones' opinion of McCarthy. While he insisted that he is "convicted about" McCarthy being the right guy to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl, he also said that the Cowboys aren't giving any thought to extending the coach's contract at this time.

“We’re in good shape," Jones said when asked about extending McCarthy. "We have years left on the contract. There are years past this one, that’s all I’ll say."

So, Jones may be "convicted about" McCarthy for the 2022 NFL season, but his full comments show that he is leaving the door open just in case the veteran coach isn't the right long-term fit.

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Kama Angell won it for Hawaii, hitting an RBI single, driving in Ruston Hiyoto clinching the championship via the 10-run rule. West Region takes the banner!— Little League (@LittleLeague) August 28, 2022 Angell finished the day 4-for-4 with 6 RBI off two singles, a double, and a home run. In the bottom of the first inning, Angell and Kekoa Payanal helped set the tone, smashing back-to-back long balls. Hawaii is here for the party Back✌️Back homers in the bottom of the first #LLWS pic.twitter.

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