Bill Parcells' day began with reports he would rebuild the Atlanta Falcons. It ended with him on the cusp of taking the same job with the Miami Dolphins.

Parcells and Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga agreed yesterday on a 4-year contract to be Miami's vice president of football operations, according to ESPN, which employs the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach as an analyst.

The Dolphins declined comment, only saying no contract has been signed.

Parcells previously coached the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys. Parcells turned down the Atlanta position, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said yesterday in a statement. Blank said the team had an agreement in principle with Parcells, but after he told the Falcons he was considering a similar offer from the Dolphins, negotiations fell through.

Huizenga sent word yesterday to Parcells that he has decided not to sell the team, ESPN reported, citing sources. The sources said the two had talked about the job 2 weeks ago, but talks were put on hold while Huizenga considered offers to buy the team.

"We met with him this morning to complete the contract," Blank said. "At that time, we were made aware by Parcells that he was considering a revised offer from the Miami Dolphins. He later informed us that he would not be signing a contract with us."

Blank added an overture to Atlanta fans, promising to build a championship-caliber team.

"I have stated we will leave no stone unturned in doing so, and this effort is one example of that," he said. "We gave it our best shot, and it didn't work out."


* New Orleans running back Reggie Bush returned to practice yesterday, ahead of schedule after learning only 2 weeks ago he had a torn left knee ligament, but isn't saying if he plans to play Sunday against the Eagles.

* The NFL upheld its one-game suspension of Dallas safety Roy Williams for his horse-collar tackle of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on Sunday.

* Denver coach Mike Shanahan said punter Todd Sauerbrun's dismissal this week was due to his belligerance toward police officers reported in the police account of Sauerbrun's encounter with them 10 days earlier, when he was cited for assault over an altercation with a taxi driver.

* Four suspects accused in the killing of Redskins Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor have filed written not-guilty pleas to first-degree felony murder and armed burglary charges. The arraignment hearing in the case is set for tomorrow.

* Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the NFL threatening to reconsider the league's antitrust exemption if it doesn't make games on the NFL Network available to more viewers. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., expressed concern that many fans in their home states will not be able to see games on the channel involving the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers. Leahy is the committee's chairman, and Specter is its ranking member.

* Tennessee placed starting middle linebacker Ryan Fowler on injured reserve after shoulder surgery.

* Detroit put wide receiver Roy Williams on injured reserve with a right knee injury. *