Rex Ryan began his press conference today with a disclaimer. "This is going to be a little different," he said.
He then launched into a full-throated and vehement denial of a Daily News report, citing anonymous sources, that said the Jets coach would want certain changes in the organization, including replacing offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, or otherwise he would prefer getting fired.
Ryan called the premise "garbage" and the story "untrue," and that it left him "disappointed" and "mad as a hornet."
"This is the only team I want to coach. Period," Ryan said, repeating several times that the only team he wants to coach is the Jets and he'd like to be at the helm for the next 15 years.
"It is very personal today," Ryan said. "To give up or quit, thatís totally the oppposite. I mentioned that. Iím not stepping down. No chanceÖIt bothers me that I feel I have to comment on it because it was so strong out there. Anybody that knows me knows itís ridiculous."
He later added: "I thought the brunt of the story that unless I got my way I wanted out. Thereís no chance I want out."
Ryan addressed the report with players earlier today, talking to them right after he read the story and described himself as more passionate and emotional than when he addressed the media this afternoon.
Ryan also placed a call to owner Woody Johnson immediately after reading the story. He told Johnson that it "100 percent" did not reflect his view and that he would not give the owner an ultimatum.
Ryan, however, would not address the job status of Sparano. He said that he has not talked to Sparano about the story and that he would not talk about whether he wanted the coordinator to return, citing an organizational policy to not discuss contracts and employment until after the season.
The coach is the latest in a string of reports based on anonymous sources that have ripped several members of the organization this year.
"The fact this still exists, does it bother me? Of course it bothers me," Ryan said.
I actually heard the audio of the presser. It was very clear that Rex absolutely wants Sparano gone. The only part of the article he denied was wanting out himself, under any circumstances. Never denied that he wanted Sparano out.
More, they asked him whether he had spoken to Woody about the article, and he said "first thing, right when I read it . . ."
Then they asked if he had spoken to Sparano. He said no, danced around a bit trying to explain it, and then landed on "well, I thought the brunt of the article was I wanted out."
Then they asked if he thought Sparano should be back. He danced again, until he eventually landed on "organizational policy is not to talk about that".