INDIANAPOLIS -- The decision was mutual.
It was time for John Idzik to return to his roots, so to speak – and both he and Seattle general manager John Schneider knew it.
Idzik began his career as a pro scout, but years later, he had worked his way up the ranks to become Seattle’s vice president of football administration. But in order for Idzik to get the job he ultimately coveted – a GM position – he’d have to get more involved in scouting again.
“When I got to Seattle he was primarily doing the salary cap stuff,” Schneider said Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium, the annual site of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “But we tried to get him out doing more and more personnel stuff just to kind of get back into the flow and get him in a situation where he can get himself back to being a general manager-candidate.
“I think the Jets, they’ll find he’s going to be a very strong, even-keeled presence for them.”
Schneider said Idzik became “more and more” involved in the scouting process recently, which helped Idzik in his interview process with the Jets. After a two-week search last month, Jets owner Woody Johnson hired him to replace Mike Tannenbaum.
Idzik’s return to being more of a talent evaluator wasn’t difficult either.
“He’s always worked at it,” said Schneider. “It wasn’t like he wasn’t watching film or anything. It’s just that he wasn’t necessarily responsible for a primary area or an over-the-top position or something like that.”
Idzik’s laidback demeanor and measured responses lies in stark contract to his head coach Rex Ryan. But Schneider believes Idzik will do a fine job adjusting to Ryan, the Jets salary-cap constraints and the persistent New York media.
“John brought a very calming, strong presence, especially during the negotiations,” Schneider said of Idzik’s time in Seattle. “A very smart guy and very loyal; not an excitable guy – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Even-keeled. There’s no highs, no lows. He’s been in the business a long time and he’s seen all the good things that can happen and he’s been in situations where he’s had to handle a lot of tough things that happen as well.”
And Schneider expects it to be no different in Florham Park.
“I think he’ll do a great job,” he said of Idzik. “We were actually just talking about it the other night. It’s a different situation for him, but he knows he has a job to do. He’s negotiated contracts for a long time, so he knows how to handle sticky conversations or conversations that can be awkward.”