Ryan `ready' if Chargers make offer

February 16, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTER

In interviewing for the San Diego Chargers' coaching job yesterday, Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan dressed to impress.

What caught the eye of everyone in the Chargers' organization was Ryan's jewelry - the Super Bowl ring he won with the Ravens in January 2001.

"That would be something that we'd be targeting," Ryan told San Diego reporters after meeting with Chargers executives yesterday. "We'd like to get several of those, but we want to put a different logo on it."

Ryan was the second candidate to interview for the job that became open when the Chargers suddenly fired Marty Schottenheimer four days ago.

San Diego officials spoke with San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary Wednesday and then sat down with 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner after meeting with Ryan.

It marked the first interview for a head coaching job for Ryan, who spoke with Chargers president Dean Spanos, general manager A.J. Smith and executive vice president Ed McGuire from 8 a.m. to noon yesterday.

"It was quite an experience," Ryan said. "I think once you go through this process, you realize how much you really do want to be in this position. I know I'm ready."

Last season, in his second season as defensive coordinator, Ryan directed the Ravens to the top of the NFL rankings for the first time in team history.

If hired, he would be the third Ravens defensive coordinator to become a head coach, following Marvin Lewis and Mike Nolan.

Ryan's strength has been his creativity, keeping offenses off-balance with defenses that would change nearly every snap. He also gained a reputation for being a players' coach because he sought their input, which usually resulted in getting their respect as well as their best effort.

"What I would bring is a great passion," Ryan said. "It's something that I was born to do. It's something I know how to do. I'm a football coach, No. 1. I love the game. I'm committed to the game. My family is committed to it and I think that will be obvious once I do hopefully get the opportunity to be a head coach."

During his talk with Chargers executives, Ryan spoke about being brought up in a football family.

His father, Buddy Ryan, was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986 to 1990, and the Arizona Cardinals in 1994 and 1995.

Ryan made a point to differentiate his coaching style from the one used by his father, a brash Korean War veteran who brought a military ethic to his teams.

"I think my personality might be a little different," Ryan said. "I think I'm just the opposite. I've learned a great deal from my father, how to attack offenses and how to do different things in football. But I've also learned what not to do as well. With his help."

Ryan then added, "And you hope you don't punch out an assistant coach on the sideline."

Ryan was alluding to Houston's 1993 season finale, when then-Oilers defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan threw a punch at offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline.

After meeting with Rex Ryan yesterday, the Chargers seemed impressed with him as well as his ring.

"We talked quite a bit about what it was like during that special run of 2000," Smith, the Chargers' general manager for the past four seasons, told the team's Web site. "The goal of this search is to find someone who can help us get there."

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was scheduled to be interviewed today.

If Ryan were to leave, the Ravens likely would look at consultant Vic Fangio, linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald and former secondary coach Donnie Henderson to be their next defensive coordinator.

"Everybody just wants to win around here," Ryan said. "Obviously, 14-2 record [last season], it would be a unique situation to come into as a head coach."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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