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Bill Cowher talks Sanchez, possible return to coaching

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher looks on during

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher looks on during football action against the Baltimore Ravens in Pittsburgh. (Credit: AP, 2006)

A complete transcript of an interesting conversation I had with CBS analyst Bill Cowher Tuesday at an event to promote the network's coverage of SB47:

First, I asked Cowher whether with all of the openings around the league he was tempted by any of them. He said this:

"No, no, no, no. Hey, we have the Super Bowl. All these coaches are trying to get there. I know I'm going to be there."

Later I went back to Cowher for a one-on-one chat in which I told him I didn't have the heart to ask Phil Simms about Mark Sanchez anymore so I wondered whether he would please weigh in on the subject of whether Sanchez is salvageable.

He said this:

"You don't just become a bad quarterback. He's young. You look at their situation and compare this team to the one that went to the championship [games]. You don't have near the skill players. It's not near the offensive line or running back-wise. And even from a signal-caller's point. He was dealing with a signal-caller this year with Tony [Sparano] - and I'm not taking shots at him – but he never was a playcaller.

"Then you bring in Tim Tebow and create this whole circus kind of atmosphere. I mean, as everyone has talked about, that thing was doomed from Day One. They never really had a chance to succeed.

"The important thing is there's no question the kid’s confidence is – look, he's fragile right now. He's fragile. Listen, the bottom line in this business is not everyone is a Peyton [Manning], a Tom Brady, a Ben Roethlisberger, an Aaron Rodgers, a Drew Brees. There aren't 32 of those guys so what you have to do is build your team with what you have and then win by putting the kind of things around him that he can flourish in.

"Don't sit there and wait to get him and build your team. You have what you have, like a strong defense with the Jets, get yourself some good receivers, a solid offensive line, because right now with what they want to do, that works from the inside out. They have to get that offensive line straightened out, get him some people to throw to, then you bring in a guy who can help develop him who's been a coordinator that can develop a young quarterback.

"All those things become a part of it. They've got a good defense. You're not in a bad division. You see quick turnarounds a lot. So it's not that far away."

Then I came back to Cowher's future and asked him whether at some point, having not coached since 2006, he will have been away from the game too long to return to coaching.

He said this:

"I think it's a non-issue. I did it for 27 years. You don't just forget things overnight. One thing about this job is it's been really good because it allows me to study the game and do features on the game. I want to know what I'm talking about so I'm watching tape. It's not like I'm out of it. I know how the game is changing.

"I find myself thinking, like, how can I discuss player safety? Some of those hits that are now illegal are the ones I was showing the night before a game. But that's the way the game is evolving so you have to be able to learn to teach the right thing. Don't hit the head and don't use your head is basically what it comes down to.

"You have to be able to teach that and preach that. This here with CBS has still allowed me to be part of the changing game. It's ever-evolving. If I ever did [come back] I don't think it would be a problem. It would be a challenge but I guess that's probably why I'd get back in it, because of the challenge."

Then I said this to clarify what he was getting at:

"Probably why you will at some point?"

Said Cowher: "Yeah."

Then I made a Joe Gibbs joke, saying, "It's not like you've been running a NASCAR team in the meantime or something."

Then Cowher laughed and said, "Yeah, yeah."

And that was that.

Tags: CBS , NFL

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