Brian Schottenheimer not returning to Jets

Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer announced that he Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer announced that he won't return for a seventh season. (Jan. 5, 2011) Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

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Brian Schottenheimer's tenure as the Jets' offensive coordinator is done.

In a move that seemed destined even though Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum repeatedly said publicly they expected him to be back, Schottenheimer announced in a statement late Tuesday night he's not returning for a seventh season.

On Wednesday, the team announced that former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano will be the new offensive coordinator.

Former Chiefs coach Todd Haley is reportedly meeting with the Jets on Wednesday to discuss openings on the coaching staff as well.

Schottenheimer, 38, was under fire for a floundering offense that ranked 25th overall despite lofty expectations. He interviewed for the Jaguars' head-coaching job, but Jacksonville chose Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey Tuesday, according to the Jacksonville Times-Union.

Schottenheimer signed an extension during the offseason and had two years worth a reported $3 million left on it.

"After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012," Schottenheimer said in the statement released by the Jets. "I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the six years I have been here. I am grateful for the relationships that I have with our players and coaches and appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into our success.

"My family and I would like to thank Rex Ryan and the entire Jets organization and wish them continued success. I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead."

Typically the subject of Jets fans' ire, Schottenheimer's grip on his job seemed more tenuous by the day given the Jets' disappointing showing on offense. At the start of the season, many of the Jets' skill-position players believed they had the talent to average at least 28 points a game and be one of the better offenses in the league.

However, they were wildly inconsistent and Mark Sanchez never took that third-year leap many thought he would. Still, Ryan and Tannenbaum kept saying last week they expected Schottenheimer to return unless he got a head-coaching job.

That all changed Tuesday.

"Brian and I talked and I understand his decision to look for a fresh start," Ryan said in the statement.

"I'd like to thank him for all of his contributions these past three seasons. He's been right there with me, shoulder to shoulder, and played a key role in our success, helping us to reach two AFC Championship Games. Coaching is in his bloodlines, he has a tremendous work ethic and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with him.

"He has acquired a lot of experience at a young age and has a bright future. I know he will be a successful head coach one day -- probably sooner than later."

Schottenheimer's departure was just the latest in Jets' coaching moves revealed Tuesday.

Bill Callahan, who was the assistant head coach/offensive line coach, left to take over as the Cowboys' offensive line coach, a source confirmed. Callahan replaces longtime Dallas line coach Hudson Houck, who's retiring.

Callahan's contract expired, and Tannenbaum said last week the team would be speaking with him soon and was hopeful of bringing him back. There was talk that Callahan might be in line to become the Jets' offensive coordinator if Schottenheimer left. That job, though, appears to be Sparano's.

The Jets also will have a new wide receivers coach. A source confirmed Henry Ellard, who held that position the past three seasons, won't be retained. Like Callahan, Ellard's contract also expired.

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