The feisty New York Jets coach opened his news conference Friday by denouncing a published report that said he would welcome being fired if owner Woody Johnson doesn't make significant personnel and coaching changes to the offense.
"There was a report that was untrue," Ryan said. "The fact is, and it's simple: This is the only team that I want to coach. Period. This is my team. These are my players. I don't want to coach somebody else's players. This is the team I want to coach."
With the Jets (6-9) out of the playoffs for the second straight season, Ryan's job status has become somewhat tenuous in his fourth year. But Ryan said he was "mad as a hornet" when he read the Daily News story, and immediately called Johnson to deny it.
The paper, which quoted unidentified sources, said it stood by the report. The back page carried a picture of Ryan and a headline that said: "Rex Wants Out ... Unless Woody spends on Jets' woeful offense."
"It's a very solid report," said Teri Thompson, managing editor for sports at the Daily News.
Ryan said he was contacted by the reporter Thursday night, but his response wasn't included. Thompson said it was an off-the-record comment and as such was not published.
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"There's no bigger Jet than me," Ryan insisted. "I want to be the Jets' head coach for the next 15 years."
Several Jets players said Ryan talked about the story with them in the team meeting earlier in the day, but declined to elaborate on what was said.
The Jets are preparing to finish their season at Buffalo on Sunday. In limbo are the futures of Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez.
"Let's face it, I wear Jets stuff every single day," Ryan said. "I'm proud to be a Jet. Sometimes I'm proud to be a Jet more than others. I mean, this season has been a rough one. But this is my team that's how I approach it. I believe that we can accomplish what I set out to do when I took the job. And that's the truth."
Press; By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.]
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