Feeling appreciated, Ryan awaits chance

July, 27, 2014
7/27/14
9:00
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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Rob Ryan might have had his best performance to date as a defensive coordinator last season for the New Orleans Saints, helping to resurrect a unit from 32nd to fourth in the NFL rankings in yards allowed. But it didn’t instantly lead to any head-coaching opportunities.

When asked how he felt about that Saturday, Ryan didn’t deny having any aspirations to one day join his brother Rex and father Buddy as a NFL head coach. But he also said it’s not something he’s consumed with at the moment.

“I’ve been coaching a long time, and I’ve been an assistant for a long time. I’ve never been a head coach,” Ryan said. “When people want to give me that opportunity, that will be great. Until then, I want to whip ass and be a great assistant.”

Ryan’s efforts in that regard certainly have been appreciated in New Orleans, where he quickly became a cult hero last season. Ryan then continued to enhance his reputation as a “man of the people” throughout the offseason by partaking in several local festivities such as Mardi Gras, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Greek Festival.

When asked if he ever gets tired of his newfound celebrity status in NOLA, Ryan said, “I’d rather be a hero than a goat. Hell, I want to make sure we do the right thing. I love New Orleans, and it just happens to be an awesome city and they seem to appreciate just a good guy.”

Ryan’s endearing larger-than-life personality has certainly helped endear him to the people in his new home. But as Times-Picayune columnist Larry Holder did a great job of pointing out on Saturday, it’s Ryan’s success on the job that has truly made him beloved.

Mike Triplett

ESPN New Orleans Saints reporter

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