Fired? Hired? In? Out?

January 24, 2008 | Drew Forrester

If I’m Rex Ryan, I call the Ravens and tell them time’s up.

With today’s hiring of Cam Cameron to run the club’s offense in 2008, that must mean the Ravens are now poised to add a Defensive Coordinator to their staff.

What’s the hold up, anyway?

They fired Rex Ryan on December 31 and — oh, what’s that?  They DIDN’T fire Rex?  OK, what DID they do, then, put him on “temporary hiatus”? 

I’m awfully confused and I think Rex is as well.

Passed over by the team during their Head Coach search, Ryan is the incumbent Defensive Coordinator who might also get the “oops, we didn’t see you standing there” brush-aside from the Ravens tomorrow or Friday when (if) they name their next D-Coodinator.

I’ve said from the outset that I thought it would be best for Rex (and the club) if he headed off into the sunset and started fresh somewhere else.  Of course, he wants to make that sunset-ride as some other team’s Head Coach, but that’s looking more and more like it’s not going to happen.  And then, and only then, I guess he’d be willing to “settle” as a Defensive Coodinator somewhere, preferably, I assume, in Baltimore.

Something doesn’t smell right here, though.

What’s taking the Ravens so long?  John Harbaugh?  Is he the issue?  OK, fair enough.  He just got the job on Friday, so maybe he needs some time to think about D-Coordinator candidates.  But he (they) hired an offensive guy today and he wasn’t in-house, right?  Rex IS in the house.  And waiting.

Here’s the dirty little secret that is probably not much of a secret anymore.  The Ravens are hoping Rex ISN’T with them next year. 

That’s obvious, right?  First off, they canned him on December 31 as part of the coaching-staff molitov-cocktail.  They gave him ONE interview for the vacant coaching spot, hired a guy with LESS experience than Ryan and, now, nearly a week has gone by and they haven’t given Rex his old job back.

The players campaigned for him.  The club said that didn’t HURT Rex’s chances at the Head Coach job – but they made sure it didn’t HELP him, as well.  The defensive players would love to have him back as their Coordinator.  So, here’s a guy in your own backyard that you fired on December 31…interviewed him for the coaching job a few days later…passed on him…continue to say, “we’d like to have him back…” and yet, you haven’t done anything to bring him back.

Seems weird to me.

Now, again, the Atlanta job was just filled today (and, maybe, technically, it still hasn’t been announced yet, so perhaps it’s NOT legally filled yet), so perhaps the club was just waiting for that situation to clear up before bringing Rex in and talking shop with him.  But, Rex has been in and out of Owings Mills a bunch since his interview back on January 6 and guess how many times he’s met with Ravens executives about coming back to work for the team?  If you said “zero”, you win.

Rex to D.C. to work with Jim Fassel?  Well, I’m not sure I believe that one.  I don’t know who’s starting that rumor, but if my memory serves me right, I don’t think Rex and Fassel were necessarily chummy with one another when Fassel was here in ’05 and ’06.  Now, I know money talks and that other stuff walks and if Rex got a good offer from the Redskins, he probably would be willing to move on for a better deal.  But I’m telling you, the deal would have to be REALLY sweet for Rex to work with Fassel. 

Could Ryan wind up in Jacksonville now that Mike Smith is leaving to take the Atlanta gig? 

Rex HAD the chance to take a D-Coodinator spot in Cincinnati two weeks ago but passed on it because, a) he still thought he was a legit candidate in Atlanta and, b) figured he’d be welcomed back in Baltimore if the Atlanta job didn’t pan out.  So, he passed on a Bengals job and – even though he would get paid in ’08 by the Ravens if they decide to part company with him and no one else wants him – he’d rather be coaching and collecting a check then sitting and collecting a check.

I spoke with Rex last Wednesday.  We talked about a lot of stuff.  He sounded “agitated”.  He didn’t SAY he was agitated.  He didn’t say he was pissed off.  But he sure SOUNDED that way.  His voice and his comments gave it away.

All I think he wants from the Ravens is probably the same Brian Billick wanted in his waning moments with the organization:  Honesty. 

In Rex’s mind, he’s a commodity.  He can run ANYONE’s defense in the league, in his mind.

But, he can’t run a defense if the Ravens keep stringing him along.

Bring him back or don’t bring him back.  Just tell him, though, so he can get on with his life.

I had to laugh last Saturday when Steve Bisciotti went into his marathon-diatribe about how great of a coach Rex is and how much the organization thinks of him and, lastly, how he called “Art Blank” in Atlanta and vouched for Rex and told Art that Rex would make a great coach and the Falcons should definitely hire him.

I have no idea what Blank said to Bisciotti in response to that call, but I know what I would have said:  “Hey Steve, if he’s THAT great, how come YOU didn’t hire him?”

It might all shake down by the weekend and Rex could wind up back here as the team’s Defensive Coordinator — with maybe a raise and an extra year or two added in for all the “sweat equity” Rex has invested since December 31.

I wonder though, will Rex Ryan ever feel the same about the Ravens organization based on what’s transpired over the last 23 days? 

In his “defense”, the whole thing has been tough to swallow.