Cowher withdraws from consideration for Jets coaching job

NEW YORK -- Bill Cowher is out of the running for the New York Jets' vacant head coaching job.

The team planned to sit down soon with the former Super Bowl-winning coach, and Cowher had expressed interest in the job, a person familiar with the search said earlier Tuesday. But the negotiations never advanced to scheduling a formal meeting.

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"After reaching out to Coach Cowher's representatives, we were informed tonight that he is not a candidate for the position," Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said Tuesday night.

Material items such as structure, money and length of contract were never discussed, according to a person familiar with the conversations, who requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to discuss the search.

The Jets, who fired Eric Mangini on Monday, will now turn their attention to other candidates. The lengthy list includes New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who'll meet with the team 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. Mike Shanahan, fired by Denver on Tuesday night, could also be a potential candidate.

Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Holmgren, Jim Fassel and Bill Parcells, 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.

Cowher, believed to have been the Jets' top candidate, had not given the Jets the impression he must have total control of personnel, according to the person familiar with the search. Still, Cowher took his name out of the running without a formal sit-down.

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, as with the Jets, 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. The 49-year-old defensive coordinator has been mentioned in connection with the vacant Detroit and Cleveland jobs, as well as the Jets.

Spagnuolo 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.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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