The Atlanta Falcons once seemed all but assured to be landing former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, but now they are in danger of losing out to a somewhat unlikely source of competition.
Earlier this week, the Falcons met with Ryan for a five-hour interview, and sources close to the team indicated that Ryan could be named coach almost immediately afterward. But Ryan left the meeting with no job offer, and the Falcons moved on to other interviews.
Now rumors are circulating that the Atlanta Falcons are bringing Rex Ryan back for a second interview, but at this point, it appears they have more competition for his services. He has met with the San Francisco 49ers and the Buffalo Bills about their coaching vacancies, but could have his eyes on a different kind of job.
Ryan is attracting interest from both ESPN and CBS, and sources say he could be leaning toward taking a television gig rather than returning to the NFL sidelines next year.
Some around Ryan say he still favors the Falcons, and whoever takes over coaching job will have some advantages, said team owner and chairman Arthur Blank. The chief advantage is in 29-year-old quarterback Matt Ryan, who is in the prime of his career, topping 4,000 yards for the last four seasons.
Ryan’s best years will likely come under the team’s next head coach, Blank said, which factors heavily into the hiring process.
“I think this decision is a critical one in that regard,” Blank said. “We want to make sure we take advantage of the opportunity. He (Ryan) may not be a part of the interview process, but his presence in this franchise and his presence on the team and in the community is going to be a very important factor for our success and in attracting what we think is an outstanding list of candidates to be potentially our head coach as we go forward.”
The situation could make the Atlanta Falcons job that much more attractive to Rex Ryan. He has a reputation as a strong defensive coach, but struggled to find and develop a quarterback with the New York Jets. After Mark Sanchez led the team to the AFC Championship in each of his first two seasons in the league, he regressed and eventually left the team. Geno Smith, who replaced Sanchez as the Jets’ signal caller, has struggled as well.
[Image via CBS New York]