PHOENIX - Bruce Arians is surprised it took Todd Bowles this long to get a head coaching job.

"I think it took about five years too long to be a head coach," the Cardinals' head coach said of Bowles, now the Jets' coach. "I really thought I'd be working for him."

Late in the 2011 season, Arians was on thin ice as the Steelers' offensive coordinator and Bowles took over as the interim head coach in Miami after Tony Sparano was fired.

"When he was the interim coach in Miami, I called him and said, 'Hey, I'm going to need a job one of these days. Just keep me in one of those consultant jobs.'"

Bowles and Arians go back to the mid-1980s when they were both at Temple -- Bowles as a safety and Arians as the coach.

"He had unbelievable instincts as a player," Arians said of Bowles. "We had an entire package put in for Penn State, and [Bowles] jumps up in practice and falls and fractures his wrist. There went about 80 percent of the game plan, because nobody else could do what he could do or learn what he could do because he was changing coverages. That's the type of guy he is."

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Bowles said Tuesday he considered Arians his greatest influence in coaching, especially during their two years together in Arizona when Bowles was the Cardinals' defensive coordinator in 2013 and 14. Bowles joked that he would "lose my left arm for him."

"He's left-handed," Arians cracked.

"He was a rising star a long time ago," the Cardinals' coach said of Bowles. "It's good to see him get [the Jets job]. He's going to do a fabulous job. He's the brightest football player and probably the brightest coach that I've ever been around. He can teach it. He knows how to simplify the game and put them in a position to be successful. That's what good coaches do."