Miami's assistant head coach interviewed with the Lions on Tuesday as a potential replacement for the fired Rod Marinelli. The 45-year-old Bowles is one of several candidates to assume the reins of the worst team in league history.
"0-16 is a challenge," Bowles said. "Everyone (in Detroit) wants to win. That alone has similarities to Miami and makes it attractive to me.
"I know the blueprint of turning a team around."
Detroit fired Marinelli on Dec. 29, a day after the franchise finished the first 0-16 season in NFL history. Marinelli, who joined Chicago's staff as defensive line coach Jan. 10, was 10-38 in three seasons here.
Bowles played at Temple before playing eight seasons in the NFL with Washington and San Francisco. He was a defensive back on a Super Bowl champion with the Redskins and had coaching stops with the New York Jets, Cleveland and Dallas before joining Miami before the 2008 season.
He was on Butch Davis' staff in Cleveland when the Browns brought the resurrected franchise to the playoffs in 2002, and was part of an even bigger success story this season.
The Dolphins were 1-15 in 2007, but went 11-5 in 2008, won the AFC East and made their first playoff appearance since 2001. The reversal of fortune matched the best turnaround in league history.
"Miami was 1-15 but we told the players we're trying to win the AFC East," said Bowles, who also served as assistant head coach under Tony Sparano. "You have to give them a goal to work toward."
The Dolphins were eliminated by Baltimore in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lions brought in Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz for a second interview Monday, and the New York Giants' Steve Spagnuolo, San Diego's Ron Rivera and Minnesota's Leslie Frazier -- all defensive coordinators -- are believed to be on Detroit's short list.
Frazier reportedly will return Thursday for a second interview. Lions president Tom Lewand watched as Bowles spoke, but would not address questions about the status of the team's coaching search.
The man the franchise chooses will be charged with revamping a defense that ranked last in the league and gave up 517 points -- threatening the NFL record for points allowed (533) in a season set by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.
The Lions haven't been to the playoffs since 1999, a season before the franchise's last winning record.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press