Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was expected to be on the Jets' list to replace Todd Bowles next season. But Riley is content with staying right where he is.
Speaking at the Orange Bowl Media Day ahead of his Sooners' College Football Playoff matchup against No. 1-ranked Alabama, Riley didn't shoot down the idea that he would one day break into the NFL, but he knows right now that isn't his game plan.
"I can't tell you how I'm gonna feel in 10 years, but no, not right now," Riley told The Post's Howie Kussoy. "If I wasn't at one of the elite programs in the country, maybe, but no, I'm very happy where I'm at right now.
So why not take the leap? Riley pointed out the financial situation being similar, if not better than the NFL compared to the past.
"If it was 20, 30 years ago, where there were some major differences, maybe," he said. "..."The way the college game has evolved, financially it's a lot better situation now when you compare it to NFL teams. We're at a place where we're happy, and we don't take that for granted. I love coaching at Oklahoma, love coaching college football."
The 35-year-old Riley is high on NFL teams' list because of what he has done the past two seasons with the Sooners. He has not only led his team to back-to-back College Football Playoff games, but he has also shaped two Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray in those seasons. Riley is highly regarded for his play-calling on the offensive side of the ball as well.
It is because of this success that Riley has been approached about recruits to gauge his interest in the NFL, and he has continued the same narrative.
"I was very upfront, said what I've said the 15 times I've been asked about it since," Riley noted. "I told them the truth. I told them I love where I'm at right now, and I don't have that itch right now, and I fully plan on being at Oklahoma."
Losing out on Riley isn't the end of the world for the Jets. Other candidates like Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, and former Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo are still on the list.