Parcells doesn't sound like retiring type 03:26 AM CDT on Sunday, April 25, 2004 By MATT MOSLEY / ************** IRVING – Bill Parcells has never really worn out his welcome with any of the four teams he's coached. And that's partly because he's always retiring. But after three rounds of the NFL draft were completed late Saturday evening, Parcells sounded like a man who wants to stick around for a while. He and owner/general manager Jerry Jones surprised many fans Saturday when they snubbed the top-rated running back in the draft to pick up extra picks. If this is the win-now era of the NFL, someone forgot to tell Bill and Jerry. Some would argue that the Cowboys missed a golden opportunity to fill the team's most glaring hole. But Parcells was eyeing the future when he sent the No. 22 pick to Buffalo for an extra pick in this year's fifth round and a first-round choice in 2005. He sounded more like a general manager than a coach as he explained he and Jones' decision to move down in the draft. "In my heart, I have to approach this for the long-range view if I'm going to be honest and forthright with the Joneses," Parcells said. "We've had many discussions in that regard since I've been here." So when everyone watching ESPN's coverage of the draft heard commentators talking about how fortunate the Cowboys were to have a chance at Oregon State running back Steven Jackson, Parcells and Jones were looking at the big picture. This strategy could backfire if Jackson ends up running circles around the Cowboys' first pick in the second round, Julius Jones. But the Cowboys will still have two first-round picks next season. And with the Bills coming off a 6-10 record and losing possibly their best defensive player in cornerback Antoine Winfield, that first-round pick could turn out nice. Parcells admitted going over the Bills' 2004 schedule at least 10 times in his head Saturday because he was already thinking about next year's pick. Maybe Parcells has finally given up on early retirement. • No cornerback on first day: In a news conference after the Cowboys' first two picks, Jerry Jones hinted the Cowboys would go after a cornerback in the third round. But the team opted to go with LSU guard Stephen Peterman instead. Bill Parcells later said the Cowboys were looking at the cornerback position, but it didn't work out. He then talked about how cornerback Pete Hunter "looks like he's growing up" during the off-season. Hunter spent time at the nickel last season, but he came under fire for too many penalties. Parcells also said that cornerback Jemeel Powell had shown a lot of improvement in the off-season. • Rookie running back will have to give up No. 22: Cowboys second-round draft pick Julius Jones has already been assigned a number, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones said it wouldn't be the No. 22 that Jones wore in high school and college. Former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith will probably be the last player to wear that number. Jones will apparently wear No. 21. JAMES D. SMITH / Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells (left) and owner/GM Jerry Jones were looking toward the future when they dealt their first-round pick. "I'd love to wear No. 22," Julius Jones said. "But they've put that number away. I'll try to make something our of a new one." Asked about recent comparisons to Smith, Julius Jones said, "He's one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL. Being compared to him is a lot of pressure. But there's nobody better to be compared to." • The trade that almost happened: Bill Parcells said the Cowboys came within an "inch" of trading back up after they traded their first-round pick to Buffalo in exchange for picks in the second round and fifth rounds of this year's draft and a first-round pick in 2005. "We were very close to making this deal and then trading back up," Parcells said. "We came very, very close to doing this." When asked who the Cowboys would've traded for, Parcells declined to answer. "We're not exasperated it didn't work out," Parcells said. It was just another contingency." • Parcells heads off Allen talk: Bill Parcells said he would only field draft questions Saturday, adding that he'd address other issues during the rookie camp that begins next Friday. When Parcells was asked if he entertained any trade offers for guard Larry Allen, he refused comment. Earlier in the day, Jerry Jones gave a strong indication that Allen would return next season. Former Cowboys receiver and current ESPN analyst Michael Irvin, a good friend of Allen's, said that Allen wanted to play in Oakland because it was close to where he grew up. • Jones gets better reception in South Beach: When reached by phone Saturday night, Cowboys second-round pick Julius Jones said he and his family had traveled to Miami, Fla., because they couldn't get adequate cell phone reception in Virginia. • Parcells mum on weight loss: Bill Parcells ended his 109 days of silence to the media after the completion of the third round. Looking dapper in a dark suit with a yellow tie and handkerchief, Parcells refused to confirm or deny a recent statement by Jerry Jones that he had lost 15-20 pounds. "I don't know about all that," Parcells said.