NEW ORLEANS, LA — Baylor Head Football Coach Matt Rhule denied reports he has been in direct contact with NFL teams during his Sugar Bowl press conference Tuesday morning in New Orleans.
"I've not been contacted by anybody," Rhule said. "But it's certainly a distraction in that our guys are answering that instead of talking about the game, which I hate."
Rhule has been connected with several vacant NFL head coaching positions in recent days, including the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.
He served as an assistant on the Giants' staff in 2012 before becoming the Head Coach at Temple University.
In three seasons at Baylor, Rhule has a 19-19 record. In his first season with the Bears, Rhule went 1-11. Two years later, he finished the regular season 11-1. Still, he says he has unfinished work ahead of him.
"There's a lot to accomplish at Baylor," Rhule said. "And most importantly, it's just each and every year, I want to put together a championship‑caliber team. And I think we have a chance to be even better next year than we are this year.
"And so I'm always looking three, four, five years down the line. I think we have a chance to be a perennial national contender, to be in the top 10 and be in the top five and go to College Football Playoff and play in New Year's Six bowls.
According to a tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter, Rhule "declined a chance to interview for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job."
Rhule and the Bears play in the Sugar Bowl tomorrow night against Georgia. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m.