Schottenheimer Tells New York Jets He Won’t Return Amid Coaching Shakeup

Brian Schottenheimer told the New York Jets that he won’t return next season for a seventh year as offensive coordinator.

“Brian and I talked and I understand his decision to look for a fresh start,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a team statement last night.

Ryan said Jan. 1 that he expected Schottenheimer to return next season unless he found a head coaching role elsewhere. Schottenheimer was linked in media reports with the vacancy at the Jacksonville Jaguars, which the National Football League team last night said had been filled by Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

Schottenheimer was criticized after the Jets lost their last three games of the season to finish with an 8-8 record, leaving them out of the playoffs after they reached the American Football Conference championship game the previous two years.

The Jets want to hire former Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano to replace Schottenheimer, ESPN said last night, citing league and team sources it didn’t identify.

Offensive line coach Bill Callahan declined to sign a contract extension, opting instead to join the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN also said. Wide receivers coach Henry Ellard, whose contract also expired at the end of the season, won’t return, while outside linebackers’ coach Jeff Weeks is to be replaced by former intern Mike Smith, ESPN added.

The Jets finished the season 25th in total offense and committed 10 turnovers in their final three games, with quarterback Mark Sanchez throwing seven interceptions. New York gave up 40 sacks, up from 28 in 2010.

A lack of chemistry contributed to the team’s worst performance under Ryan, the coach said Jan. 1. Results suffered because players were selfish and cared more about their own performances than winning, backup quarterback Greg McElroy, who spent the entire season on injured reserve, said two days later.

Schottenheimer gave no indication as to what his next move will be.

“I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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