Rex Ryan denies report that he wants out of Jets
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In a flashback to his animated news conference performances of the past -- before they faded along with the Jets' fortunes -- coach Rex Ryan on Friday insisted he is here to stay and isn't leaving for greener pastures.
"This is the only place I want to coach. I'm proud to be a Jet," Ryan declared in response to a Daily News story citing anonymous team and league sources who said Ryan would prefer to be fired after the season if owner Woody Johnson does not spend money to improve the offense.
The team's season, which concludes Sunday in Buffalo, "has been a rough one, no question," Ryan said, "but this is my team, and I believe we can accomplish what I set out to do when I took the job."
Ryan, who has two years and $6 million left on his contract, said he was "mad as a hornet" and called Johnson when he saw the story Friday "to let him know that was absolutely, 100 percent, not my intention. I'm not putting an ultimatum to this man that hired me. No chance. This is his football team. I feel honored that he hired me."
Ryan said he spoke with his 6-9 team before practice and told them the premise that he wouldn't mind being fired is "total garbage."
"The reaction that they saw from me was probably a little more passionate, emotional, whatever you want to call it, because I had just read the story," Ryan said. "They know there's no bigger Jet than me. I want to be the Jets' head coach for the next 15 years. There's probably a lot of fans out there that hope that ain't the case, but I'm just telling you from the heart that this is a job I always wanted, and that's it.
"The fact is, this is the only team I want to coach. Period. Has it been perfect? No. Would I like this player or that player? Sure. But I'm telling you, this is my team, these are my players. I don't want to coach somebody else's players."
The story said Ryan declined to comment about his future. However, Ryan said Friday that he spoke to the reporter, Manish Mehta, on Thursday night, "and for whatever reason, he chose not to put it in."
In a phone interview with SNY, Mehta said, "The story is 100 percent accurate," and Daily News managing editor / sports Teri Thompson told Newsday that "we absolutely stand by our story." She said Ryan's comments weren't included because they were part of "an off-the-record conversation between Rex and Manish, and we honored that."
Notes: TE Dustin Keller (ankle), QB Greg McElroy (abdomen, concussion), WR Chaz Schilens (knee) and LB Bryan Thomas (chest) are listed as doubtful for Sunday. WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring, knee) and CB Ellis Lankster (concussion) are questionable . . . DL Muhammad Wilkerson, listed as having a concussion, said he cleared his last test and will play, and asserted that he never had a concussion . . . RB John Griffin, who played at Massachusetts, was signed to the active roster. He was waived Aug. 8 but was signed to the practice squad Nov. 5.