Rex Ryan Says Woody Johnson Had to Fire Him as Coach of NFL Jets

Rex Ryan said New York Jets owner Woody Johnson’s only option was to fire him as coach after the team’s last-place finish and a fourth straight year out of the National Football League playoffs.

Ryan, 52, was dismissed by the Jets in December after compiling a 46-50 record over six seasons. The Jets went 4-12 under Ryan in 2014, their worst season since 2007.

Ryan, who was hired as coach of the division-rival Buffalo Bills in January, said he thinks of Johnson like a big brother and that the Jets’ owner will always remain a friend. Ryan received his first head coaching job from Johnson in 2009 following 22 years as an NFL and college assistant.

“He was outstanding to me, but he had no choice, he had to fire me,” Ryan said in an interview with the NFL Network. “He had to fire everybody, he had to blow it up and start again. That’s what he did.”

John Idzik was also fired after two years as the Jets’ general manager and was replaced by Mike Maccagnan, the Houston Texans’ former director of college scouting. The Jets in January hired former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to replace Ryan.

“It’s not like he could justify bringing me back again,” Ryan said of Johnson. “That wasn’t not going to fly. So he had no choice. I don’t think he wanted to.”

The Bills and Jets, who meet twice this year, both have 40-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl, tied for 21st in the 32-team league, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

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