Week 13 Sunday notes

Those who know former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher say he is gearing up to return as an NFL coach next season. Cowher is mentally preparing himself and contemplating how he would structure his organization.

With a return on the horizon, many around the league believe the most logical landing spot by far is the Carolina Panthers, where speculation is mounting that Panthers coach John Fox is on the endangered list. Of course, Fox has been there before and always has done what he could to keep his job. But this time, the Panthers have a newly hired president, Danny Morrison, who has no ties or connections to anyone in the organization other than Jerry Richardson.

A source connected to the Panthers source said he expects the team to pursue Cowher, who lives in North Carolina and has been waiting for the ideal opportunity to return to coaching. Plus, consider these notable coincidences: Cowher has a daughter who is a freshman at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where the Panthers hold training camp. Morrison also graduated from Wofford, where he later became the director of athletics and the school's senior vice president. Cowher continues to be on Carolina's radar, and recent signs only reinforce the notion.

Emotional Bud Adams

In what has been one of the biggest upsets of this football season, Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams has stolen the headlines from more high-profile owners such as the Cowboys' Jerry Jones and the Redskins' Dan Snyder. The owner who flipped off the Buffalo Bills, drew a $250,000 fine and ordered Vince Young into the starting lineup was back at it again this past Sunday after Tennessee's dramatic come-from-behind, last-second victory over Arizona. Afterward, Adams openly cried in front of his team and told his players that it was the greatest win he had witnessed as the Titans' owner. This is saying something considering that Tennessee once won a playoff game with the Music City Miracle. But what was even more notable was Adams' public display of emotion in front of his team. Adams went Dick Vermeil, surprising players and coaches who never had seen him so expressive or emotional. Then again, Adams has surprised many around the league all season. Should Tennessee pull the upset over Indianapolis on Sunday, it could take another significant step toward the playoffs -- and bring Adams to tears again.

Futures of Notre Dame's Clausen and Tate

There's a pervasive feeling around the NFL that both Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate will opt to turn pro this week, which in and of itself is notable. Should Clausen turn pro, it is thought that he will be a first-round pick and quite possibly the top quarterback drafted. What makes it even more intriguing is that sources around the league expect former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis to return to an offensively challenged NFL team next season. And that team, in all probability, will need a quarterback. So Weis could be pushing his new NFL team to draft the quarterback he coached at Notre Dame -- it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. But it's looking like a near certainty that Notre Dame will have to move forward without Clausen and Tate.

Seattle's GM search

Mike Holmgren might ultimately wind up as the Seahawks' new leader. But Seattle will have a long and exhaustive search for its next president/general manager. It hired New York search firm Spencer Stuart to identify candidates and help the Seahawks hire the most qualified candidate. Additionally, it should be noted, and this is significant, that the Rooney Rule now applies to senior front-office positions just as it does for head-coaching ones. In a rule announced during the spring, NFL teams must interview a minority candidate for a senior football personnel position just as they must for a head-coaching job. One high-ranking Seahawks official said the team is committed to the process and will go out of its way to make sure the Rooney Rule is respected.

Tuck still upset with Flozell Adams

Look for the Giants to play an inspired game Sunday versus the Cowboys. For starters, it marks the rematch between Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams, whom the league fined for tripping the last time these teams played in Week 2. Adams' trip resulted in a shoulder injury that still bothers Tuck. At the time, Tuck told reporters, "I won't cheap-shot him. But I will hit him in the mouth while he's looking at me." This week, Tuck played down the rematch, but there's no way he has forgotten it. Then, as if that weren't enough, Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said his team's defense has not been physical enough this season. Don't be surprised if Tuck plays his most physical game of the season Sunday.