Rex Ryan doesn’t rule out a return to his former team, the Jets, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports.
“I’m definitely never going to say never on that one,” Ryan said in a wide-ranging interview, his first since getting fired by the Bills before the season finale more than a month ago. “I love New York. I do. I love the people. I got a ton of friends — lifelong friends-in that organization. I’ll never say never. I don’t know in what capacity, but I’ll leave that open for sure.”
Ryan, who went 50-52 in six seasons with the Jets, has more playoff wins (four) than any coach in franchise history. He went to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in his first two seasons before missing the playoffs in his final four.
His relationship with Woody Johnson has always been rock solid even after the Jets’ 4-12 2014 season prompted an organizational house-cleaning.
“They had to fire me,” Ryan said. “I won four games. It’s as simple as that regardless of whether we had $40 million or whatever under the cap. It felt like $70 million under the cap. So, I get it. I walked out of there with my head up and I understood. But that wasn’t easy for Woody. That wasn’t easy for anybody. When you go 4-12, you’re going to get fired. And I knew that.”
“I liked Woody and his family,” Ryan continued. “(Woody’s younger brother) Chris Johnson now will have a bigger role with that team. I’m telling you, they’re good people. They mean well. They want to win too. Woody wanted to spend money. Woody wanted to spend every damn penny of (the money under the salary cap) and yet we saved it.”
“I had six years there and I enjoyed every one of them,” Ryan said of the Jets. “I know I was supported. It might not have been 100 percent support throughout the organization (see: Idzik). But it was probably 99 percent. So, that was awesome. I love that support that we got. It felt like a family.”
“I loved the fans too,” Ryan added. “The fans were awesome. They never stopped supporting me when I was in New York even when it was a disaster (of a) season. I still felt the support of the fans. That’s an unbelievable feeling. That’s what was so painful. I felt like I let them down. When we went 4-12, I wanted to win so damn bad for them.”