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Pat Fitzgerald is no longer an option for Packers after declining interview request

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We can officially cross Northwestern’s head coach off the list.

Big Ten Championship - Northwestern v Ohio State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Monday night, Northwestern University head football coach Pat Fitgerald made an impassioned statement following his team’s 31-20 Holiday Bowl victory over Utah. In a post-game interview, Fitzgerald said that he would not be leaving Evanston, and that Northwestern is “home forever” for him.

To be fair, coaches have made statements like that before only to bolt for other jobs soon afterwards. Perhaps the best example took place in December of 2006, when then-Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban said “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.” Two weeks after making that statement, he agreed to a contract with the Crimson Tide.

However, fans should give credit where it is due, and in this case, Fitzgerald is sticking to his word. According to Tom Silverstein of Packersnews.com, Fitzgerald has declined the offer from the Packers to interview for their open head coach position and has rejected overtures from other NFL teams as well. He’s staying at Northwestern, where he has presided over the best stretch of success in the football program’s history.

While Fitzgerald turning down requests from other teams is not particularly surprising, the connection between him and Packers president Mark Murphy was one that appeared to be intriguing. In 2006, Murphy — then Northwestern’s athletic director — hired Fitzgerald to be NU’s head coach. However, even that familiarity apparently was not enough to convince him to take the interview with Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst.

The Packers have already interviewed three candidates for the job, with five more interviews happening in the next three days and at least one additional yet to be scheduled. However, despite his relationship with the man making the final call in Green Bay, Fitzgerald will not be among the group of individuals in the running.