"This is where I want to be," Homer said Tuesday through his spokesman Lucas Smith. "Notre Dame football is a dream job for some people and it is humbling to be considered. But when it comes down to it, this is where I want to be working for as long as they'll have me."
The rumors started a couple of weeks ago when Homer's name was linked in an online report as a possible successor to fired football coach Charlie Weis. Despite having no prior football coaching experience, certain Notre Dame boosters were pushing hard for Homer to get the job and return Notre Dame football to its glory days. It is unclear when Notre Dame officials first contacted Homer or if they made an official offer. But with the Chiefs coming off an 81-win season and a playoff appearance, the timing was right for Homer to renew his contract.
"I can't help what's said in the press or online," stated Homer in a conference call with reporters. "I fully intend to be in Peoria and hopefully for a good while. You never know what the good lord brings you, but in the end I couldn't be more excited with the quality of players coming through this organization and with the great fans that support us night in and night out. I couldn't be more pleased about what we are doing here in Peoria and what the future holds."
The new contract for Homer makes him the highest paid dog mascot in the Midwest League. "This deal gives me a lifetime of security," Homer said in a prepared statement. "I now have more bones than I know what to do with and it allows me to get more costumes for our outstanding and unique 2010 theme nights and promotions at O'Brien Field."
The Chiefs are also thrilled with the deal from their end and happy to put a close to the rampant rumors both online and in the local community.
"The rumors the last few weeks weighed heavily on everyone in the organization," said Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen. "Notre Dame is a great institution but we think Homer made the right decision and we are beyond excited to keep him in Central Illinois for 2010 and the foreseeable future. This new contract is to the benefit of everyone involved and we wish Notre Dame well in their coaching search, they just aren't going to get one of ours!"
With Homer back in the fold, the O'Brien Field Fan Zone will continue selling Homer merchandise along with other Chiefs items throughout the Holiday season. The Fan Zone is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. while season and group tickets are available by calling 309-680-4000 or visiting www.peoriachiefs.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.