FLORHAM PARK, NJ – After spending 10 years with the Ravens, Rex Ryan will return to Baltimore for just the second time since becoming the head coach of the New York Jets.
But things will be different for Ryan this time around. For perhaps the first time since being passed over as head coach of the Ravens, he will take to the sideline at M&T Bank Stadium at peace with how things ended.
With almost five seasons under his belt, Ryan is a Jet, first and foremost – an ex-Raven second.
“I had a great experience [in Baltimore]. I spent 10 great years there, but this is my team, this is my team now,” Ryan said on Wednesday.
“I’ll always cherish the years that I had there without question. I have a lot of fond memories there, but right now I’m focused on building those memories here and that’s what it’s about.”
After starting the season on the hot seat, Ryan seems completely secure in his role as head football coach of the Jets. The Ravens? Well, they’re just his former employer, and he swears it’s all water under the bridge.
“I certainly didn’t take it personal, too bad, when it happened,” said Ryan, referring to the Ravens’ decision to hire current head coach John Harbaugh over him back in 2008.
“All I did was say, I’m going to do the best job I possibly can and I’m going to take it out on the league, that was my approach. That’s kind of what I did.”
It wasn’t always that way, as Ryan’s tune seems to have changed since the first two times the Jets played the Ravens, both losses, in 2010 and 2011.
“Was I bitter about not getting the head coaching job? Yeah, absolutely,” Ryan said before the Jets-Ravens game in 2011 – a game in which the Ravens sacked Mark Sanchez twice and recorded 10 quarterback hits, beating the Jets, 34-17, on Sunday Night Football.
Past relationships aside, Ryan is harping solely on football now, most importantly, getting back into the driver’s seat for the AFC’s final wild card slot. And the Ravens are just another roadblock on the way to that goal.
“Right after that loss to Buffalo, I was like it doesn’t matter who we play because we have to move on,” he said.
So, are there any hard feelings left? Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’
“I was given this unbelievable opportunity and so that’s behind me,” Ryan said. “I have no hard feelings whatsoever with that organization, I mean none whatsoever.”
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