Former Bills HC Rex Ryan explained what happened during his time in Buffalo in a candid interview with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
According to Ryan, one of the issues for him and the team was that he set their expectations too high.
“I set the expectations too high,” Ryan said. “Like, boy, that’s a shock. In a way, I felt, why not us? I stepped in where the head coach had quit, the defensive coordinator quit and the quarterback quit on them. So, I thought that it was important at the time to say, ‘You know what? Shoot, I believe in you. And I’m proud to be the coach here.’ Every bit of that was true. I put that truck (with the Bills logo) around town. I was all-in. Even though those other three had quit, I wasn’t a quitter. I was ready. And I wanted to be there. And I wanted to win. And I thought I could win.
“… Let me tell you, I stripped that damn truck the day I got fired,” Ryan added with a laugh. “F–k you guys.”
Ryan didn’t rule out returning to the NFL as a coach at some point but he’s looking forward to his new opportunity in television.
“I’m really not that bitter and maybe that $15 million is one of the reasons,” Ryan said. “I’m not bitter, man. … Yeah, I’m hurt. I was hurt by it. There’s no question. But bitter ain’t how I feel. I’m like, ‘Shoot, if they never wanted me here, then fine. I ain’t here. I’m not your coach anymore. Fine and dandy.’ But I got an opportunity in front of me that a lot of guys don’t get. I’m going to see where it takes me. Maybe this a different career and I really enjoy it. I’m hoping that’s the way it is. Maybe I get into and I don’t like it. Maybe they don’t like me. Maybe I go back to doing something I love, which is coaching. I’ll never say never. I’m a young guy still. … I’m healthy. But bitter? Nah. Not bitter, man. I’m really not.”
Ryan added that he and the team didn’t have much luck this past season.
“I wasn’t real lucky coming in there with the situation I did,” Ryan said. “Hey, that’s the way it goes. No excuses. We went in there and did the best we could. I wish things would have been different. I wish Sammy Watkins wouldn’t have had a broken foot and been healthy the whole year. I wish our draft picks would have played. There’s a lot of things that I wished for, but at the end of the day, I’m responsible for the product on the field.”
Ryan’s plan, for now, is to join ESPN for Super Bowl coverage and it’s possible that this could turn into a longer opportunity with the network.
Ryan, 53, was hired by the Bills back in 2015 after he spent six years as the Jets’ head coach. For his career, Ryan is 61-66 (48 percent) for the Jets and Bills, which includes two playoff appearances and four playoff wins.