In his first interview since he was fired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Rex Ryan addressed his time with the team, as well as his future in coaching.
I set the expectations too high. Like, boy, that's a shock. In a way, I felt, why not us? I stepped in where the head coach had quit, the defensive coordinator quit and the quarterback quit on them. So, I thought that it was important at the time to say, 'You know what? Shoot, I believe in you. And I'm proud to be the coach here.' Every bit of that was true. I put that truck (with the Bills logo) around town. I was all-in. Even though those other three had quit, I wasn't a quitter. I was ready. And I wanted to be there. And I wanted to win. And I thought I could win.
Ryan went 15-16 in two seasons with the Bills before he was fired ahead of their Week 17 game against the New York Jets.
In retrospect, he admitted he wishes he would have had more luck on his side during his tenure:
I wasn't real lucky coming in there with the situation I did. Hey, that's the way it goes. No excuses. We went in there and did the best we could. I wish things would have been different. I wish (wide receiver) Sammy Watkins wouldn't have had a broken foot and been healthy the whole year. I wish our draft picks would have played. There's a lot of things that I wished for, but at the end of the day, I'm responsible for the product on the field.
Per John Ourand of SportsBusiness Daily, Ryan signed on to serve as an analyst for ESPN for one day as part of its Super Bowl LI coverage Sunday.
Ryan expressed hope that it is something he will enjoy and potentially pursue further despite being so deeply entrenched in the coaching profession.
The 54-year-old said he isn't currently interested in being a defensive coordinator, and he would need the ideal situation to consider coaching at all: "The one thing about (being on TV) is that you don't lose. You'll remember every damn loss. But the wins? You don't necessarily remember. So, it takes a lot out of you. I'm tired of getting f--ked. Unless it's a real situation, there's no sense of getting into it again."
Ryan has coached in the NFL in some capacity every season since 1999, and the last time he wasn't on the sideline at all was prior to his stint as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky in 1987.
Although he twice led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game and built some of the NFL's best defenses during his time as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, Ryan's reputation is currently damaged with no winning seasons as a head coach since 2010.
It is safe to assume he could land a defensive assistant job at the NFL level if he wanted it despite his struggles, but based on his outspokenness and affable nature, Ryan will likely have no shortage of suitors with regard to a future in television.