Source: Bill Cowher has wish list of jobs

Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher is prepared to return to the sideline after a four-year hiatus but he won't take just any job.

A source close to Cowher is adamant that the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and New York Giants are atop his wish list if any of those teams should make a coaching change after the 2010 season.

Cowher has maintained that while he will listen to overtures on coaching jobs he would not discuss any specific team, including those that have already fired their coaches, such as Dallas, Denver and Minnesota.

The Dolphins may be the most intriguing option because owner Steve Ross has wanted to energize his fan base as the team has played second fiddle to the Miami Heat ever since LeBron James and Chris Bosh signed with the NBA team. The Dolphins went into Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills still alive in the playoff hunt at 7-6 but with a 1-5 record at Sun Life Stadium.

The Texans have been considered a talented but underachieving team. However, owner Bob McNair indicated recently that Gary Kubiak's job may be safe but that other changes could be in the offing. If Kubiak remains, those changes are expected to come on the defensive staff.

While the Giants have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Cowher ever since ex-Steeler running back Jerome Bettis linked his former coach to the New York job last year, there have been no indications that Tom Coughlin's job is in jeopardy. Coughlin has one year remaining on his contract and has not been signed to an extension yet.

Asked to rank Cowher's preferred list in order, the source identified New York, Miami and Houston. Each of those markets represent strong ownership with a good talent base, the source said.

Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst.