FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) New York Jets coach Todd Bowles is a big fan of R&B singer Gladys Knight - and now the ''Empress of Soul'' knows all about it.
Bowles has made frequent references to Knight during his news conferences, starting when one reporter asked two weeks ago about his low-key, unflappable demeanor.
''If you want to get me excited, bring Gladys Knight in here,'' he said with a big grin. ''Other than, that I'm pretty good.''
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When asked what he meant, Bowles quickly cleared things up.
''Singing-wise,'' the 51-year-old married coach said, almost seeming embarrassed. ''Nothing else, just for singing purposes.''
Well, the coach's crush has come up a few other times, and Knight has, well, heard it through the grapevine. The seven-time Grammy winner even gave him a Twitter shoutout Monday.
''I'm just now seeing all the amazing (hash)ToddBowles posts,'' Knight wrote. ''Hi Todd! Lol. We might have to take a selfie when I get to NY next week.''
Knight, whose new dance single ''Just A Little'' comes out Friday, followed that up with another post after the Jets' 20-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts later that night.
''(hash)ToddBowles & the (at)nyjets kicked butt last night,'' the 71-year-old Knight wrote on Tuesday. ''(hash)Winning ?????????? Maybe I am a good luck charm after all lol. Jk, you guys are amazing!''
To keep with the theme, the Jets played some of Knight's music from their sound system as they started practice Wednesday.
''I guess they were trying to be funny and get to me,'' Bowles said.
So, Coach, what did you think?
''I always think of Gladys,'' Bowles said. ''I smiled. I was getting ready to get into my Pips routine, if my knee wasn't hurting. I'm going to hold back on that one and save it for a later date.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL