Cowher: Gut told him Buffalo wasn't right

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Bill Cowher called the Buffalo Bills' repeated attempts to coax him out of retirement "a very flattering process," but said his gut told him their head-coaching position wasn't a right fit for him.

The Bills pursued Cowher and wouldn't take his first no for an answer. The Bills eventually moved on and hired Chan Gailey, one of Cowher's former offensive coordinators with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I have tremendous respect for Buffalo," Cowher told me Tuesday afternoon at a CBS Sports media event. "We had some talks. It didn't really go that far. I couldn't make the commitment. I have tremendous respect for [Bills owner] Ralph Wilson. I think it's a tremendous fan base. I think it's a golden opportunity for Chan Gailey.

"It just wasn't the right time and place. I pretty much go with a gut feel when I make decisions like that. I think it through, but there was nothing specific. It's a class organization."

Cowher's comments were his first about the Bills' interest in him. He refrained from discussing the situation on the CBS Sports studio shows.

Cowher confirmed he had one face-to-face meeting with the Bills.

I asked if the rest of their discussions consisted of the Bills badgering him over the phone.

"Yes," Cowher quickly replied with a jowly grin.

Cowher stepped down from the Steelers after the 2006 season. A year earlier, he won the Super Bowl. His career record in 149-90-1, but he said his retirement might not be permanent.

"If the right situation came along, I would entertain going back to coaching," said Cowher, who on Tuesday also denied reports he spoke with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers about becoming their coach. "But I don't know what it would be. ... There's no set criteria. I'll know when it is."