Former NY Jets HC Rex Ryan might land Cowboys job in dramatic twist

What's going on in Dallas? Rex Ryan might return to the NFL after all!
Former NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan
Former NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan / Frederick M. Brown/GettyImages

Former NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been quietly planning his NFL comeback over the last few years, but his hopes of returning this season seemed to vanish after Mike Zimmer was reportedly hired to be the Dallas Cowboys' new defensive coordinator.

The former Minnesota Vikings head coach was reportedly set to join the Cowboys as of this weekend, but it seems as though plans may have changed. Despite NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and others reporting that Zimmer to the Cowboys was a done deal, that might not be the case.

Ryan disputed the report on Sunday's NFL Countdown Super Bowl pregame show, insisting that it wasn't a "fact" that Zimmer had the job. Ryan implied he was still in consideration for the position.

As it turns out, he might be on to something. ESPN's Adam Schefter made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday, and when asked about the Cowboys' defensive coordinator job, he went back on the previous report, saying the deal was not done.

He dropped another interest note as well, insisting that the Cowboys "loved" Ryan and have reached back out to him about the opening. Ryan's comeback dreams might not be dead just yet.

Former NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan might be returning to the NFL after all

Ryan needs no introduction to Jets fans. The boisterous and unapologetic Ryan served as the Jets' head coach from 2009-2014, helping form one of the NFL's best defenses en route to consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances.

At his peak, Ryan was one of the brightest defensive minds in football, but it's been years since we've seen him in the NFL. In fact, Ryan hasn't coached at any level since he was fired by the Buffalo Bills in 2016. That was eight years ago.

The Cowboys have clearly prioritized experience with their defensive coordinator opening, as the likes of Ryan, Zimmer, and Ron Rivera have all been in consideration to replace the highly respected Dan Quinn.

Ryan certainly fits that bill. The 61-year-old spent 17 years coaching at the NFL level and an additional 12 years in college. Ryan isn't lacking in experience, but it's worth wondering what his defensive scheme might look like after eight years out of the league. The sport has changed quite a bit during that time.

Unfortunately, the Jets played the Cowboys last season, so they're not scheduled to face them again until 2027 (2026 at the earliest). Nonetheless, it would be fun to see Ryan back in the NFL again.

The Rex Ryan comeback tour might still happen!