"I love that guy's passion and energy that he would bring and, really, he's a great fan," the Jets coach said Monday, a day after Ed Anzalone penned a guest column detailing his reasons for vacating his post as leader of the J-E-T-S chant at home games.
"I really admire him. He was great. But I think if we do our job on the field, that Jet chant will continue. But I certainly appreciate 'Fireman Ed.' "
Anzalone was a fixture on the stadium JumboTron at home games as he orchestrated the well-known "J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!" on kickoffs. But he abruptly left MetLife Stadium during halftime of the Jets' 49-19 loss Thanksgiving night and later deleted his Twitter account.
He later explained that he would still attend games, sans his fireman's helmet, in order to avoid constant confrontations with fans.
"For people to be harassing him at the games -- he's not in the locker room with us, he's not on the payroll or nothing," linebacker Bryan Thomas said. "He's just a regular fan just like everybody else in there. So I don't know why they would harass him. I don't know. That's crazy to me."
Asked if he was shaken up about the resignation, Ryan joked: "If he could play linebacker, I'd use him.
"I like him. I don't know what to say. I appreciate him."