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Talks between Bill Cowher and the New York Jets broke down in part because Cowher didn't want to coach Brett Favre, the New York Post reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
Several reports on Tuesday indicated that Cowher at first gave the Jets the same answer he has given every other team with a head coach opening the past couple seasons: "No, thanks."
Then the Jets reportedly pushed the issue by offering Cowher some control over personnel decisions. But late Tuesday Cowher reiterated that he was not interested in the Jets job.
The Post sources said Cowher didn't want Favre as his quarterback and wanted to bring in his own people to handle personnel.
"There's no way he's taking Brett Favre as his quarterback," the newspaper quoted one person identified only as someone close to Cowher.
After firing coach Eric Mangini, owner Woody Johnson both expressed support for Favre and said he did not favor a structure in which a coach also had the GM job. Johnson retained GM Mike Tannenbaum, though reports indicated the Jets might be willing to scale back Tannenbaum's power to lure Cowher.
Cowher has reportedly said this week that he does not intend to return to coaching until 2010.
The Jets' short list of candidates already included New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo and veteran coach Marty Schottenheimer. The team may also pursue Mike Shanahan, who became available when the Denver Broncos fired him Tuesday.
Shanahan could be on Jets' list
The Jets have received permission to speak with Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for their vacant coaching job, a person familiar with the search told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
With Cowher withdrawing his name from consideration, the Jets are setting their sights elsewhere, with an ever-growing list of candidates that could include fired Denver coach Mike Shanahan.
Whether Brett Favre plays for the Jets’ new coach remains to be seen. The 39-year-old quarterback reportedly has a torn biceps tendon in his right arm that doesn’t require major surgery, but he’ll likely take several weeks before deciding whether he wants to return for a 19th season.
Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have both said they’d like to have Favre back. But whoever is hired as the head coach will have significant input on the decision, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the individual wasn’t authorized to discuss the search.
No formal interview had been scheduled with the 46-year-old Ryan, who’s in his fourth season leading the Ravens’ defense. He has also served this season as assistant head coach to John Harbaugh.
Ryan is the son of former NFL coach Buddy Ryan, and is the twin brother of Oakland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rex Ryan was a candidate for the Ravens job after Brian Billick was fired last season, and also interviewed for the vacant Miami and Atlanta jobs.
The Ravens will play at Miami in the playoffs on Sunday.
The Jets, who fired Eric Mangini on Monday, will interview a pair of in-house candidates Friday: offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who also served as assistant head coach under Mangini.
New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will meet with the team Saturday.
The person familiar with the search said the team is doing its due diligence in considering several candidates, including Shanahan and Marty Schottenheimer. No formal discussions were scheduled as of early Wednesday night.
Shanahan, fired by Denver on Tuesday night, could become the No. 1 target on the Jets’ list. At a news conference in Denver, Shanahan said he’s interested in coaching again but hadn’t taken any phone calls about current openings.
Mike Martz, Billick, Mike Holmgren, Jim Fassel and Bill Parcells, names mentioned in various reports, aren’t believed to be on the Jets’ immediate radar.
Shanahan, 56, was fired by the Broncos after going 146-91 over 14 seasons, including the playoffs. Denver became the first team since divisional play started in 1967 to blow a three-game lead with three games left, getting routed 52-21 at San Diego on Sunday with the AFC West title on the line.
Denver won just one postseason game under Shanahan since John Elway retired in 1999 following back-to-back championships. Shanahan, who had three years left on his contract worth about $20 million, was also the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations.
Johnson has made it clear 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.
Spagnuolo has become a popular candidate because of 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.
With the Giants in the playoffs, Spagnuolo can be interviewed during their bye week, but a team can’t offer him a job until New York’s season ends.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
He stopped in his tracks and laughed when someone shouted out: “Where?”
Brian Schottenheimer has been the Jets’ offensive coordinator the last three seasons after serving as quarterbacks coach from 2002-05 under his father, Marty, at San Diego.
Callahan joined Mangini’s staff last offseason after he was fired as coach at Nebraska. He was 27-22 in four seasons with the Cornhuskers, and went 17-18 in two seasons with the Raiders. He led Oakland to the Super Bowl in 2003, becoming the fourth rookie head coach in NFL history to do so, before losing to Tampa Bay.
The Jets’ last three coaches — Mangini, Herman Edwards and Al Groh — had no previous NFL head coaching experience.
ProFootballTalk: Patriots QB Tom Brady addressed Wes Welker’s decision to head West to Denver. Brady says he isn’t surprised by anything after being in the league for so long and hopes that Welker has a great season with the Broncos.
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