Bill Cowher's Return to the NFL is Unlikely at Best

By Jeff Hartman
Bill Cowher
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It seems to be a yearly occurrence that on ‘Black Monday’ when NFL coaches are handed their pink slips you hear the usual carousel of names being tossed around. Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy and Bill Cowher are always amongst the crop of coaches that teams are trying to coax out of retirement to run their particular franchise.

Some situations actually make sense with some retired coaches from a history with the team to growing up in the particular area or even just being a fan of the team as a youngster. But for every reason that a coach might be enticed back to the sideline there are a million others that make no sense whatsoever.

Bill Cowher’s name has been in this Rolodex of coaches that seemingly get attached to almost every coaching vacancy once teams announce their jobs being open, and this year is no different. Although some rumors stemmed strictly from social media — like the Cowher to the Cleveland Browns rumors — others had more validity. The most recent was that the Washington Redskins were interested in luring Cowher back to help fix what Mike Shanahan ruined.

This rumor doesn’t have the legs to go very far either. First, Cowher has made it very clear that he enjoys his job as an analyst and doesn’t miss the time and stress involved with being an NFL coach. Cowher’s three daughters are all in college or recently graduated, and he has been open about having the time to see them since his wife’s passing in 2010.

On top of Cowher’s personal life, if Cowher ever does return to the NFL he will want complete control of the organization. He will want general manager status on top of being the head coach. Plain and simple, in the NFL there aren’t too many teams that will be willing to give up control of their franchise anymore, especially Daniel Snyder and the Redskins. When Cowher coached for the Pittsburgh Steelers he wasn’t the GM, but the Rooneys knew that Cowher had final say on any draft picks or transactions that were made. It was Cowher that pressed to trade up in the 2003 draft to select a safety from USC named Troy Polamalu. Not a bad move, but having that sort of power is not a common commodity in today’s NFL.

Bill Cowher was, and is, a great football coach, but will he be returning to the sideline again? The situation would have to be absolutely perfect, and I’m not sure if that position is available in today’s open coaching market.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.

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