Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) is considering an end to his congressional career, according to a local news report.

 Shuler, a Blue Dog Democrat in his third term, is eying the open athletic director position at the University of Tennessee, where he was a star quarterback for their powerhouse football program, Tony Basilio, a radio host with Knoxville-based WLVZ, reported this week.


Basilio said Shuler has approached several former UT football coaches – including Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors – about the athletic director position, which opened up this month following the exit of Mike Hamilton.

"Yes, Shuler is in play," Basilio wrote on his blog Tuesday. "Yes he did call Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors to get their thoughts on this potential opportunity but he hasn't been offered the job.  In fact, Tennessee hasn't 'offered' the job to anybody as of yet."

Basilio said Shuler "has expressed the desire for a couple of concessions if he were to leave the US Congress to do this" – including "a long-term contract" of at least seven years.

Shuler's office did not respond to several requests for comment Wednesday.

The report didn't elude the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which shot out an email to reporters Wednesday saying Shuler's alleged interest in leaving Congress is "indicative of a larger trend facing his shrinking [Blue Dog] caucus."

"Despite the rosy projections of some in the Democrat party, Blue Dogs are starting to realize that 2012 will be the toughest election cycle of their career as they prepare to defend the indefensible job-crushing policies of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi," NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay said.

Lindsay noted that Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), another prominent Blue Dog, has already announced that he won't run for reelection next year.