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Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley addresses NFL rumor

The last thing Lincoln Riley needs is outside distractions heading into the final month of the regular season and it appears he has put an end to speculation before rumors concerning his future in Norman spread like wildfire.

For now, Riley is extremely happy staying put as coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Fox Sports 1 analyst Joel Klatt said during Saturday’s broadcast that he asked Riley about his interest in NFL opportunities this week leading up to the game.

“I asked him point blank, ‘Do you have that itch?’ And he said…’No.’ And this is the important part, he said ‘I know we can be great here for a long time.’ And that’s the truth, that’s the absolute truth,” Klatt said.

Riley was said to be a strong candidate for multiple jobs and remains on the NFL’s radar as one of college football’s up-and-coming offensive geniuses.

Riley, 35, hasn’t missed a beat this season offensively without Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. His Sooners are averaging 48.9 points per game and quarterback Kyler Murray has established himself as the biggest threat to Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa at the top of the Heisman race.

In Saturday’s 51-14 win over Kansas State, Riley’s offense was on fire coming out of its open week, scoring points on all six first-half possessions. Oklahoma’s only punt during the game came with 7:55 left and second-teamers on the field. Murray added four touchdowns to his conference-leading total.

Riley was mentioned in reporter Tom Pelissero’s column this week as possibly the next Sean McVay at the professional level, falling under the hot-rod coach label who may get an NFL job sooner rather than later. McVay, 32, is 18-5 through 1.5 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as an offensive guru, serving under previous coaches Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden.

Riley’s name was also mentioned as a possible replacement for Browns coach Hue Jackson earlier this week on The Ringer’s NFL podcast. NFL analysts Robert Mays and Kevin Clark tossed around the idea and believe another team would be interested in his service, perhaps one with a higher profile.

The eighth-ranked Sooners (7-1) are in great position to make noise in the College Football Playoff race with a strong finish in November. With notable games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia remaining, they’ll have a chance to impress the selection committee and could have another nationally-ranked win in the Big 12 Championship Game at season’s end.

The first Playoff rankings release on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Oklahoma is expected to fall somewhere inside the Top 10.

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