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Jets' Schottenheimer 'went with my gut' in rejecting Bills interview

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Brian Schottenheimer chose happiness over the prestige of being an NFL head coach.

For now, anyway.

The New York Jets' offensive coordinator said Thursday that he turned down the Buffalo Bills' request earlier this week to interview for their vacant head-coaching job.

"A lot of thought went into it, but as I told you guys a couple of weeks ago, the biggest thing for me is the fact that I'm happy," Schottenheimer said. "I haven't always been happy, and I love the direction of this team. We've got a lot of time invested in the players and coaches, and I think there are a lot of good days ahead."

Schottenheimer, the son of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, is in his fourth season running the Jets' offense. He has been instrumental in rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez's development and establishing the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack.

Schottenheimer said he would "listen and consider" other potential opportunities should they arise, "but at the end of the day, I'm happy, so I don't see myself going anywhere."

"Do I want to be a head coach? Absolutely," he added. "I think it has to be the right time, and it has to be the right situation, but again, you can't put a price tag on happiness. I come to work every day excited. I come into meetings with the players energized. That's something that not every coach in this league has. I'm flattered that somebody wanted to talk to me, but it's more about what the Jets had to offer me."

The Bills received permission Monday from the Jets to speak with Schottenheimer, who talked with general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan on Tuesday about the situation.

"I kind of explained to them what my thoughts were and how I felt," Schottenheimer said. "They said, 'Hey, take some time and think about it.' I said, 'I don't think it's going to take very long, but I appreciate that.' I went and made a few phone calls, talked to my wife, and at the end of the day, I followed my gut."

Schottenheimer said he has a lot of respect for the Bills' organization and owner Ralph Wilson, and he's friends with new Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix.

"It's not about the Buffalo Bills," Schottenheimer said. "It's about the New York Jets. How I feel about this organization, the way I see the direction this team's going in under Rex, the fact that Woody and Mike stuck by me last year, all that stuff is stuff I took into consideration."

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Schottenheimer has previously interviewed for other head-coaching jobs, including with the Jets, who instead hired Ryan last year.

"I didn't feel that I had to take this interview," Schottenheimer said. "I have the experience. I've done three of them and I've come up short in all three of them. I didn't need the experience. I'm happy, I'm content, and we've got a big game to play this weekend."

The Jets will visit the San Diego Chargers on Sunday for an AFC divisional playoff game.

Schottenheimer previously worked under his father as the quarterbacks coach in San Diego from 2002 to 2005 and Washington in 2001. He said the idea of beating the Chargers was enticing not because general manager A.J. Smith fired his father following the 2006 season but because he still has several friends on the team.

"This is a business," Schottenheimer said. "The stuff that happened between Marty and A.J., that's got nothing to do with it. It's more of when I see those guys around the golf course or whatever, it would be nice to have bragging rights."

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