Jets coach Todd Bowles says there's a 'soft spot' in his heart for the Redskins

ASHBURN, Va. -- It's been so long since Todd Bowles played for the Washington Redskins that Sunday's game won't feel a whole lot different. That doesn't mean facing the Redskins is just another game for Bowles. Rather, the helmet and jerseys serve as a reminder for Bowles on where he got his start -- and a Super Bowl ring.

Bowles will face them as a head coach for the first time when the Redskins play at the New York Jets on Sunday. Bowles won't have time to reminisce, but he did take a minute to look back during a conference call Wednesday.

Bowles played with the Redskins from 1986-90 and again from 1992-93. He missed the Super Bowl season in 1991, but won a title with the team in 1987.

"Anytime you mention the Redskins, there's a soft spot in my heart because that's the team that gave me my upstart," Bowles said. "I have a lot of friends down there. So I'll always be grateful and thankful for the opportunity coach Joe [Gibbs] and those guys gave me."

The opportunity as well as a ring. Bowles started 12 games at free safety in 1987, intercepting four passes. The Redskins beat Denver in the Super Bowl after the season, their second title under Gibbs.

"The offensive line was great," Bowles said. "We had a lot of big receivers and when the running backs went down and Timmy [Smith] had to play, the holes were so big I thought a lot of people could've run through them. Timmy was the benefactor of those things. Defensively, all I can remember is Dexter [Manley], Alvin Walton and Monte Coleman coming off the edge, not giving Elway much time to throw. That made our job in the back a lot easier."