In his first interview since being fired by the Buffalo Bills last month, Rex Ryan said he would not close the door on the possibility of an eventual return to the Jets.
"I'm definitely never going to say never on that one," Ryan told the Daily News. "I love New York. I do. I love the people. I got a ton of friends - lifelong friends-in that organization. I'll never say never. I don't know in what capacity, but I'll leave that open for sure."
In six seasons as head coach of the Jets, Ryan went 50-52, and his four playoff wins are more than any other coach in franchise history.
Ryan's Jets went to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in his first two seasons before missing the playoffs in his final four years.
"They had to fire me," Ryan said. "I won four games. It's as simple as that regardless of whether we had $40 million or whatever under the cap. It felt like $70 million under the cap. So, I get it. I walked out of there with my head up and I understood. But that wasn't easy for Woody. That wasn't easy for anybody. When you go 4-12, you're going to get fired. And I knew that."
"I had six years there and I enjoyed every one of them," said Ryan of the Jets. "I know I was supported. It might not have been 100 percent support throughout the organization (see: John Idzik). But it was probably 99 percent. So, that was awesome. I love that support that we got. It felt like a family."
Ryan will be a panelist for ESPN's NFL Sunday Countdown this weekend, helping to break down the Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and the Falcons. The former coach said he would like to explore a few different roles in television for at least a year to figure out whether he actually likes it.
"Look, I love coaching to the day I left, whether it was with the Jets or whether it was with the Bills," Ryan said. "I love it. It's something that I enjoyed big-time, but we'll see how this (TV job) is. I'm going to give this an opportunity here. I'm going to put everything I have into it and enjoy it."