Jets plan to speak with Cowher about coaching job
While no formal discussions have been scheduled yet, the team plans to speak soon with the former Super Bowl-winning coach, according to the person who requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to discuss the search.
Cowher has also expressed interest in the job that opened Monday, the person said, when the Jets fired Eric Mangini after three seasons.
The Jets also will meet with New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Saturday, according to another person familiar with the coaching search. New York is also expected to interview a pair of in-house candidates: offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who also served as assistant head coach under Mangini.
Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Holmgren and Jim Fassel, names mentioned in various reports, aren't believed to be on the Jets' immediate radar.
Jets owner Woody Johnson made it clear that he prefers to keep football, business and coaching duties separate, so a candidate wanting complete control would be less likely to be hired. Any coach the Jets hire would have to fit into that structure.
The person told the AP that Cowher has not given the Jets the impression he must have total control of personnel.
Cowher has worked as a studio analyst for CBS since resigning as the Pittsburgh Steelers coach after the 2006 season. He was also a candidate for the vacant Cleveland job, but told owner Randy Lerner that he has no intention of returning to coaching in 2009 and asked to be taken off the list of possible candidates.
The 51-year-old Cowher was 161-99-1 in 15 seasons with the Steelers, including a Super Bowl victory in 2006.
Spagnuolo has become a popular candidate given the Giants' success on defense the last two seasons under him. The 49-year-old defensive coordinator has been mentioned in connection with the vacant Detroit and Cleveland jobs, as well as the Jets.
He was hired by the Giants in January 2007 after working eight years under Jim Johnson with the Philadelphia Eagles' defense. Spagnuolo was considered for the Washington Redskins job after the Giants upset the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl last season, but he chose to remain with New York.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Berea, Ohio, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
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