Rex Ryan finally came out of hibernation at the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday after a long winter of silence. The New York Jets head coach was his upbeat self but— considering he is working on the last year of his contract and all signs point at it being his last with the team — he seemed to be short on any of the braggadocio of past preseason meetings with reporters.
Last season Ryan came to camp about 100 pounds lighter. This year he is dropping the boasts.
Ryan's low key approach to the Jets season could be attributed to the combination of a new general manager, no quarterback and a mass exodus of veteran players. But it sounds like the coach's humbler expectations come from regret.
"Guaranteeing the Super Bowl is always going to haunt me," Ryan said at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix. "If I could ever have a do-over that would be it."
There are numerous things Ryan probably wishes he could do-over — starting with the tattoo of his wife with the Mark Sanchez jersey and those infamous foot-fetish videos. But the Jets coach said yesterday, if afforded the chance, the one thing he would take back would be his annual guarantee that his team would win the Super Bowl.
The Jets have missed the playoffs the last two seasons and Ryan isn't planning on coaching like he's a lame duck.
"Is it challenging? Yeah, no question," Ryan said. "But I'm a guy that doesn't run away from challenges. I'm going to hit it head on. I'm confident."
A little of the old coach still remains — just less bombastically.