The New York Jets’ two-year extension of head coach Todd Bowles may have snuck in an under-the-radar benefit: a new mentor.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians — whom Bowles served under from 2013-14 — could be present at New York’s training camp this summer.
Arians said that he “will be in a training camp this summer” and it could be New York, depending on who his replacement is in Arizona.
Arians, 65, retired earlier this month after six years as an NFL head coach, five in the desert and one inspiring season as the interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia. That magical 2012 season and a 2014 season during which the Cardinals won 11 games despite quarterback injuries, netted Arians two AP NFL Coach of the Year awards.
“If he’s leaving it the way he wants to leave it, I’m happy for him,” Bowles said after Arians’ retirement. “Bruce has been around a long time. He’s been big to me and my career. Mostly off the field, just being the person he is seeing me grow from college to now and still having the same relationship means a lot to me.”
It wouldn’t seem likely that Arians would take a coaching position (say, offensive coordinator, if New York’s John Morton bolts elsewhere). In the same Sports Illustrated interview, Arians hinted at broadcasting as a way of staying near the game in the future. However, even if he is just a mentor watching his successful protege run his program, Arians’ presence would be positive for the Jets.
Arians’ background as both player (he was a dual-threat quarterback at Virginia Tech) and coach has made him a successful quarterbacks coach. He even wrote a book entitled The Quarterback Whisperer: How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback, which sounds like a guide the Jets’ could get behind. Whether the Jets start Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Kirk Cousins or any one of the several talented quarterbacks atop NFL mock drafts, Arians would be a good influence.