Another comeback story could be headed to the Denver Broncos coaching staff.
Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan has emerged as a top candidate for the vacant Denver Broncos defensive coordinator job, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday night.
New Broncos head coach Sean Payton is searching for a new defensive coordinator following the departure of Ejiro Evero to the Carolina Panthers, and Ryan, who is currently an ESPN analyst, was interviewed last week, per Rapoport and Garafolo.
The 60-year-old Ryan hasn’t coached since he was fired as Bills head coach in 2016, the same year he began his tenure at ESPN.
A charismatic defensive mind known for his aggressive approach and memorable quotes, Ryan has lived a football life. The son of former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator and Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan, Rex is also the brother of Rob Ryan, who served as Payton’s defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints from 2013-2015.
Ryan was the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator from 2005-2008 before he became Jets head coach in what would be a memorable run for the franchise that lasted six seasons and culminated with a 2010 run to the AFC Championship Game. He then coached the Bills for a pair of seasons and holds an overall head-coaching record of 61-66.
Through 12 seasons as a head coach and defensive coordinator, Ryan’s defenses ranked in the top 10 in yards allowed nine times.
Were he to join Payton, who retired for one season after helming the Saints for 15 years prior to taking on the Broncos’ head-coaching job, Ryan would find himself with a stocked defense that was ranked seventh in yards allowed despite a 5-12 campaign.
For now, Ryan remains a talking head, but he’s clearly in the mix for a return to coaching.