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Did your team miss out on Rex Ryan?

4/6/2010

There was a time when Rex Ryan would have taken just about any head-coaching job out there. He was on the Baltimore Ravens' staff and looking for his big break.

The Miami Dolphins interviewed Ryan before they hired Tony Sparano. The St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens spoke to him about their top jobs, too.

Had the Buffalo Bills taken a look at him rather than renew Dick Jauron's contract in 2008, who knows how different things would be in Orchard Park?

Any club that hired Ryan almost certainly would've provided more entertaining times for its fans and increased aggravation for its rivals.

For a piece I wrote last week about the New York Jets being one of the NFL's most hated teams, receiver Jerricho Cotchery and I got to talking about Ryan's role in changing them into a team opposing fans love to hate.

"I'd rather be hated and have him leading us," Cotchery said, "than having to play against him."

Cotchery is flabbergasted Ryan didn't get his big break sooner. Ryan is a charismatic figure who fostered immense loyalty from his players while overseeing the Ravens' fearsome defense.

The Jets finally gave him that shot, and he guided them to the AFC Championship game in his rookie season.

"We get a lot of great players in the fourth round or the later rounds who turn out to be stars," Cotchery said. "It's crazy how some of those guys fall.

"For him to not be able to get a job for that long is mindboggling. What was everyone thinking? You couldn't be in a room with him and not feel that hunger and that excitement and not feel how smart he was.

"You can't say he doesn't have the total package. It makes you wonder. We're very happy that all those teams passed him up."