- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

IRVING, TEXAS (AP) - Dolphins assistant head coach Todd Bowles wasn’t able to persuade Jerry Jones to make him an NFL head coach when he tried four years ago. He hopes he made a better pitch Wednesday.

Bowles spent about two hours with Jones, making him the third known candidate to become the next coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

“We had a good talk, a real good talk,” Bowles said. “I gave him a lot to think about. … I’m grateful for the chance to come in here. They thought enough of me to come in here and interview, so that was good.”

Jones‘ next move could be a decision. He’s said he wants to act swiftly and that he wasn’t planning to consider many people. Jason Garrett is considered the heavy favorite after going 5-3 following the midseason firing of Wade Phillips. The other known interviewee was receivers coach Ray Sherman.

Sherman and Bowles are black, one from inside the organization and one from outside. Sherman is 59 and has been an NFL coach for 23 years; Bowles is 47 and just finished his 11th season as an NFL coach.

So if fulfilling the letter and spirit of the league’s Rooney Rule was the only thing keeping Jones from giving the job to Garrett, then his path is clear.

Unless Bowles or Sherman won him over.

Bowles said he believes his interview was legitimate, not just a quota-filler.

“I didn’t get that impression at all,” said Bowles, who on Dallas’ staff from 2005-07.

The Cowboys also are in the market for a defensive coordinator. Would he want that job?

“Right now, I’m focused on the head job,” Bowles said. “We’ll see what happens there. If that doesn’t work out, hopefully something else comes up.”

Bowles was an NFL safety from 1986-93, mostly with the Redskins. He returned to the league as a coach in 2000 with the Jets and worked for the Browns before joining the Cowboys as secondary coach under Bill Parcells.

After Parcells left, Bowles and Garrett were among the 10 candidates Jones considered before hiring Phillips in 2007.

Bowles remained in Dallas for Phillips‘ first season, then was part of an exodus of Cowboys personnel who went to the Dolphins in 2008. His primary duty in Miami has been running the secondary. In 2009, he interviewed for the head coach positions in Detroit and Denver.

“I don’t know if I’m a better candidate (now) _ I’m an older candidate,” Bowles said, laughing. “I would like to think I get better coaching every year.”

His formula for winning hasn’t changed much since he last interviewed with Jones. However, he felt more prepared for the interview.

“Experience teaches you a lot of things,” Bowles said. “In ‘07, you’re a little bit younger. First time out, you don’t know really what to expect. You just try to say a lot of the things you tried to prepare for. … From a confidence standpoint, you’re kind of more mature, you know a little more than before.”

He said interviewing with a former boss in a building that used to be his workplace made the experience “a little more comfortable” than his visits with the Broncos and Lions.

“The familiarity was good,” Bowles said. “But that was three years ago. I just want to come back. … We got familiar with each other again. A lot of the personnel is different. I was happy with the talk.”

Bowles said he didn’t know what would happen next.

“They’ll be in touch _ hopefully,” he said.

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