Bill Cowher is out of the running for the New York Jets' vacant coaching job.

The team planned to sit down soon with the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach, and Cowher had expressed interest in the job, a person familiar with the search said yesterday. But the negotiations never advanced to scheduling a formal meeting.

"After reaching out to Coach Cowher's representatives, we were informed tonight that he is not a candidate for the position," Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said last night.

Material items such as structure, money and length of contract were never discussed, according to a person familiar with the conversations who requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to discuss the search.

The Jets, who fired Eric Mangini after three seasons on Monday, are scheduled to meet with New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Saturday, according to another person familiar with the coaching search.

Spagnuolo has also been mentioned for the openings in Detroit, which fired head coach Rod Marinelli and Cleveland, which fired both head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage.

The Browns reportedly met with Mangini last night, a person with knowledge of the meeting told the Associated Press.

Noteworthy

* Buffalo coach Dick Jauron will return next season after team owner Ralph Wilson decided a shake up wasn't necessary despite a third consecutive 7-9 finish that left unhappy fans demanding change.

* Veteran cornerback Sam Madison was placed on injured reserve by the New York Giants, 2 days after breaking his right ankle in the regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.

* New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre reportedly has a torn biceps tendon in his right arm that will not need major surgery to repair, ESPN reported.

* Retired NFL receiver Andre Rison was arrested and cited for public intoxication after an early-morning disturbance at a San Antonio hotel Monday. He paid an $85 fine for the misdemeanor offense and was released, police said.

* Danny Villa, a former NFL player and high school football coach was charged with raping a female student whose father allegedly found hundreds of text messages she received from Villa. Villa, who played with the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, was to be arraigned in Wrentham (Mass.) District Court on three counts of rape of a child over 14 and three counts of enticing a minor. *