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IRVING -- A long-time NFL defensive coach has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Rob Ryan as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.

A source close to the Cowboys has told WFAA that the Cowboys have been talking to 72-year-old Monte Kiffin.

Kiffin has a connection to the Cowboys coaching staff, since head coach Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback with Tampa Bay in 2004 when Kiffin was the defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers.

Kiffin has been called the father of the "Tampa Cover 2" defense. He has 26 years of defensive coaching experience, and helped Tampa Bay win its one and only Super Bowl.

Reports from Kansas City this week said that new Chiefs coach Andy Reid was interested in hiring Kiffin, but that Kiffin wasn't interested.

Monte Kiffin was previously coaching in the NCAA at the University of Southern California, where he resigned as an assistant head coach and was in charge of the defense. His son, Lane Kiffin, remains at USC as the head coach.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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