The Jets kicked off their general manager search while Rex Ryan was kicked back on the beaches of the Bahamas. He returned from his island getaway roughly a week ago, but from the sounds of it, his involvement in the process (or lack thereof) hasn't changed since then.
Albert Breer of NFL.com reported on Tuesday that Rex has been excluded from the first round of interviews for the vacant GM position.
Been told Rex Ryan was not in on first round of Jets' GM interviews. Not all together unusual, but worth noting considering coach's status.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 15, 2013
Breer points out that this is "not all together unusual," and certainly the fact that it's the Jets will have everyone assuming it is completely unusual.
While it begs the question of why the Jets elected to keep Rex in the first place, if they're planning on moving on from him next year anyway, this is the right move for the organization. Keeping Rex also gives the next GM a "mulligan year" of sorts, where he can take the time to build the team in his image and move on from Rex if the situation calls for it.
In keeping him out of the search, the Jets are sending the message that they don't want Rex Ryan to inhibit their ability to find a top-quality general manager.
Rex Ryan's absence in the room for the Jets GM interviews was certainly notable to candidates, but allowed them to speak more freely.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 15, 2013
Jets owner Woody Johnson said that Rex would be involved in the GM search in last week's press conference, but was never abundantly clear about how involved he would be, and where that involvement would come into play.
However, as pointed out by Conor Orr of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, Ryan knew he wouldn't be a part of the whole process.
Shortly after his press conference last week, Ryan made a stop on ESPN Radio and clarified Johnson's remarks about his involvement in the process. Ryan said that he will come in at the end of the search. Johnson, too, was never specific. His answer from last week: "(Rex) will be part of the process, yes."
By minimizing Rex's involvement in the search, the Jets are putting the long-term stability of the franchise ahead of short-term success, and that is more than can be said for many of the Jets offseason moves in recent years.
Whether it's the first step toward long-term stability or leads to another bump along the way remains to be seen.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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