Rex Ryan reportedly told his team on Saturday night that he was going to be fired at the end of this season. A win on Sunday might have changed all that, though.
The Jets downed the Browns 24-13 at the Meadowlands on Sunday, improving to 7-8 on the season. Following the win, Ryan addressed the media and the rumors of his potential firing. However, his tone was actually rather optimistic about his future with the team, an almost 180-degree turn from the report that surfaced earlier in the day.
“I know I have a contract for next year,” Ryan said, via ESPN New York. “What I do know, guys, is that I’m coaching this team. I’ve said this all season long: My job is to focus on the present and what’s right now.”
Ryan is technically still under contract for next season, as his current deal runs through 2014, so his comment may not have been as indicative of his future as much as a statement of fact. Jets owner Woody Johnson has come out in support of Ryan in the past, but new general manager John Idzik will ultimately have final say on the coach’s future with the team.
After Sunday morning’s report, it seems unlikely that Ryan has any guarantees from Idzik or the organization on his future at this point. However, the job he’s done this season, turning the Jets from a preseason favorite for the AFC’s cellar into a potential .500 club, will certainly earn him some extra considerations when the time comes.
If Ryan is fired following the season, there is no doubt that there will be a market for him around the league. Ryan is 45-40 since taking over the Jets in 2009, including a 4-2 playoff record with two trips to the AFC Championship Game.
There will likely be a handful of other openings around the NFL this offseason, giving Ryan more than a few potential suitors if he’s let go. Although, he could always decide to take the Jon Gruden path and sit out a season to do some TV, as he would draw plenty of interest and may even start a bidding war among national networks.