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Jets coordinator Schottenheimer would welcome back QB Favre

NEW YORK -- Brian Schottenheimer believes Brett Favre still has plenty left in that rocket right arm.

"I would welcome the opportunity to coach Brett again," Schottenheimer, the New York Jets' offensive coordinator, said Tuesday.

Schottenheimer, who was retained by new Jets head coach Rex Ryan, hasn't spoken to the 39-year-old quarterback since a late-season slump contributed to the team missing the playoffs. Favre is contemplating whether to retire or come back for a 19th NFL season and a second with New York. He's expected to make a decision in the next few weeks.

"He's probably in a tree stand right now as we speak doing some hunting," Schottenheimer said with a chuckle.

Favre also is healing from a torn biceps tendon in his throwing arm that might have contributed to a stretch in which he threw nine interceptions in the Jets' last five games.

New York went 1-4 in those games and missed the playoffs -- costing coach Eric Mangini his job -- but Schottenheimer believes Favre could still help the Jets reach the playoffs.

"If he chooses to come back, he's still performing at a winning level," Schottenheimer said.

It was widely speculated that Schottenheimer wasn't pleased with having to restructure the offense after Favre joined the team late in training camp in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. Schottenheimer said that wasn't the case.

"I really enjoyed coaching Brett, I really did," he said. "So, when I said I'd welcome the chance to coach him again, I really, really enjoyed being around him, I enjoyed working with him. We had a heck of a relationship, and I don't think anything would change if he does decide to come back again this season."

The Jets, along with Favre, went downhill after consecutive wins at New England and Tennessee put them atop the AFC East at 8-3.

"We weren't clicking on all cylinders," Schottenheimer said. "Some of them were design flaws on my part. Some of them were bad reads or bad decisionsm and some of them were core protection. It's unfair to put it all on Brett."

While Favre and his receivers were slow to click at first, New York's offense ended up putting up 405 points -- the third-highest total in franchise history. Schottenheimer said ball security, struggles on third down and failure to be consistent were the team's downfall.

"Midway through the season at 8-3, we did find our groove," he said. "Unfortunately, our groove dried up a little bit."

Schottenheimer, 35, was one of the top candidates for the Jets' head-coaching job and has been recognized as one of the league's best young offensive coordinators. Ryan recognized that and said when he was hired that he would sit down with Schottenheimer, who had one year remaining on his contract, and discuss how he felt when he was passed over for the Baltimore Ravens' head-coaching job last year.

"When I finally got a chance to sit down and visit with Rex, it really was something that felt right. It felt really good," said Schottenheimer, who acknowledged being disappointed at first with the Jets' decision.

Schottenheimer's name was linked to a handful of other jobs around the league, but he said there was nothing substantial.

"The most important thing for me was to figure out, did I want to be a part of the Jets?" he said. "I was still under contract, and at the end of the day after the smoke cleared, I really did feel like this was the best place for me."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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