FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Brian Schottenheimer loves it here too much, is happier than he's ever been in his four seasons as the Jets' offensive coordinator. That's why the 36-year-old declined to accept the Bills' invitation to interview for their head-coaching job earlier in the week, barely even taking it into consideration.
Schottenheimer, who interviewed for the Jets' head-coaching gig a year ago before it went to Rex Ryan, wants to be a head coach. Just not at the moment.
"I'm flattered. I really was," Schottenheimer said Thursday in his first comments since turning the Bills down. "I have a lot of respect for Mr. Wilson. I have a lot of respect for the Bills' organization. Buddy Nix is obviously a friend of mine, having worked together. It's not about the Buffalo Bills. It's about the New York Jets and how I feel about this organization and the way I see the direction of this team going under Rex. At the end of the day, I feel good about the decision."
It was a difficult decision to shoot down Buffalo because of his relationship with Nix. He's familiar with the Bills' new general manager from their San Diego days, and Schottenheimer's father, Marty, remains close with Nix.
Schottenheimer added, "If anybody understands how tough it is to get a head-coaching job, it's me. I've been close a couple of times. I grew up in a family with a head coach . . . A lot of thought went into it. The biggest thing for me is the fact that I'm happy. I haven't always been happy. I love the direction of this team. We have a lot of time invested with the players, with the coaches. I think there are a lot of good days ahead."
Schottenheimer, who remembers how owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum stood by him when they fired Eric Mangini last January, met with Ryan and Tannenbaum Tuesday, and the three began discussing the situation. He explained his feelings, informing them that he doesn't want to go anywhere because he likes the direction in which the Jets are headed.
Ryan and Tannenbaum told Schottenheimer to think about it before making a final decision. "I said, 'Hey, I don't think it'll take very long, but I appreciate that,' " he said. "I went and made a few phone calls. I talked to my wife. At the end of the day, I followed my gut."
Schottenheimer reiterated that he does want to be a head coach someday. But he apparently isn't ready to bolt anytime soon.
"I think it has to be the right situation," he said. "You can't put a price tag on happiness. I come to work every day excited. I come into the meetings with the players energized. That's something that not every coach around this league has. I'm flattered that somebody wanted to talk to me. But again, it's more about what the Jets had to offer me. That's the confidence in me and all the time that's been spent."