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Jeery Jones Helped Arkansas Recruit Petrino


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The deal to get Bobby Petrino from Atlanta and to Arkansas involved Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the talks started Monday morning, Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday.

"What I have heard that [Jones and Falcons owner Arthur Blank] are good friends.'' said Broyles. "I was told Jerry got permission from Arthur Blank,'' he said. "Jerry talked to Arthur to get an interview.'' Jones is a former Razorbacks football player when Broyles was the coach. "What happened after that, I don't know,'' said Broyles, who added he did not have direct knowledge of the negotiations. Broyles did say the contact started Monday morning, before the Falcons lost to the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

"Jerry Jones is a big Razorback [booster],'' Broyles said. ''All Jerry Jones was doing was to help everybody, if he was involved. All he did was open the doors.''

Broyles's 50-year association with Arkansas includes a successful career as the head football coach, during which he coached Jones, followed by more than three decades as athletics director.

Jeff Long has replaced Broyles as AD and was present at Petrino's introductory press conference Tuesday night.

Broyles did say the contact started Monday morning, before the Falcons lost to the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

Blank and team president Rich McKay both said Wednesday afternoon that they each talked to Jones and both said they did not grant permission for anyone from Arkansas to speak to Petrino.

It is not known who talked to Petrino or how the contact took place. In Arkansas late Tuesday night, Petrino said: "The first time I spoke with officials from Arkansas was today."

In a meeting Monday with Blank and McKay, Petrino expressed uncertainty about coaching in the NFL, according to a person familiar with the situation. But Petrino did not mention the job at the University of Arkansasin the meeting. By the end of the meeting, Petrino assured Blank and McKay that he would return next season.

Blank reinforced that Petrino would return in 2008 to several media outlets prior to Monday night's game.

On Tuesday night Petrino said: "It really wasnt' a change in mind it was working out the details and the ability to get here. I wanted to get back to coaching college football."

Broyles said the buyout of Petrino's contract was $3 million. "I didn't think there was any chance because of the buyout clause," Broyles said on 790AM Wednesday moirning. "I thought that was a fantasy." Broyles later said he did not know how that matter was resolved.

Broyles was visiting the Channel 46 studios in midtown Atlanta to tape a segment promoting his resource guide for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Broyles' wife, Barbara, had Alzheimer's.

"I know the people in Arkansas are thrilled to have [Petrino]," Broyles said.

When asked about the controversy over Petrino switching jobs, Broyles said, "He's never been to a job like Arkansas. I think Arkansas is a special place. This is a place you can enjoy for the rest of your life if you want to.''

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