NFL Nation: John Matsko

Like you would expect from any proud franchise, the New Orleans Saints just sent out a massive media package moments after it was announced that offensive tackle Willie Roaf has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The packet included a long list of quotes on Roaf. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Team owner Tom Benson: “We’re glad to congratulate William Roaf in his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He meant a great deal to our team during his career with us. He was the best player on our team during his time with us, one of the top players in the history of our franchise and one of the NFL’s greatest at his position.”

Former coach Jim Mora: “Willie Roaf had an outstanding career and definitely belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He possessed exceptional physical talent and a great work ethic. He was blessed with high quality character and a team oriented attitude. He was a team leader, always positive, upbeat, and a fun guy to coach and have on the team. Without question Willie was one of my best and favorite players ever.”

Former Saints defensive lineman Wayne Martin: “I think Willie was Pro Bowl-ready when he got to the league. He had great feet and the other intangibles you look for. He was the best tackle I played against in the league period. The only guy that I played against that came close to him was Anthony Munoz.”

Former Saints offensive line coach John Matsko: “What separated William from the rest is his tremendous desire to be the best. His determination to make himself better was reflected in the way he prepared and the way he played. He practiced like it was game day and never let down. You take that desire, that motivation and then add the great physical skills he possesses – size, speed, quickness, strength and length – you have a Hall of Fame tackle. There was no defender he couldn’t handle. And, when he played the best, he played them better every time he faced them.”

Louisiana Tech offensive line coach Petey Perot, who coached Roaf in college: “When Willie got here, the thing that is the most unique is that he came to us from Pine Bluff as a 220 pound kid that was a raw athlete. We weren’t sure where he would play on the line or at d end. We kept him on the line. He worked, was persistent, continued to do the things that great players have aspirations do and grew to a 315-pounder and an unbelievable player.’’

Posted by's Tim Graham

PITTSBURGH -- Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, the favorite to be named the New York Jets head coach perhaps as early as Monday, fielded questions from reporters after Sunday's 23-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game.

Here's some of what he had to say:

What are the thoughts on the possibility of joining the Jets?

Rex Ryan: If I get the opportunity, that'd be fantastic. But right now, this is tough. You lose the AFC championship game. This group of guys overcame so much this year. I know we had more injuries on defense than any team in the NFL. Yet we kept competing. We used everybody we had. It's the unit. It's the strength of the unit that keeps us going not the individual. That's how this team played.

What will happen Monday?

RR: I don't know. We'll see what happens.

Does he have a timetable for what will happen next with the Jets?

RR: I sure haven't. Hopefully, I get that opportunity. But as of now I'm not sure what the plans are. ... We're not sure what's going to happen.

What have the coaches and players around you the past 10 years meant to you?

RR: Heh ... You act like it's a foregone conclusion. But, obviously, you spend 10 years in a place, that's tough. These are some great times.

You seem to be emotional when you talk about your players.

RR: Ten years. That's an eternity. It's special people.

What should people know about your thinking going forward?

RR: I'm not sure what the process is going to be. Right now, I'm employed by the Baltimore Ravens. I'm proud of that.

Was this year in particular valuable in learning to be a head coach?

RR: Really, I was blessed to be in this situation under John [Harbaugh] as the head coach and being around [offensive coordinator] Cam Cameron, being around some new coaches, [offensive line coach] John Matsko, [running backs coach] Wilbert Montgomery. So you learn. I certainly don't have all the answers, but it was great. The way John treated me, to be basically side by side in some of the head coaching decision was great for me. I think I'm more prepared to be a head coach now because of that.

Do you have anything scheduled for Monday?

RR: Not that I know of. Maybe I'll find out later tonight, but not that I know of.


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