Rex Ryan and Mike McCarthy in 2014. Sep 14, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (left) embraces New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (right) after a game at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

A return to the NFL could be in the cards for Rex Ryan.

After interviewing for the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator position last season — the post went to Vance Joseph — the former New York Jets head coach and current ESPN NFL analyst has now reportedly interviewed for the Dallas Cowboys vacant defensive coordinator job, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.

The vacancy was created when Dan Quinn left for the Washington Commanders’ head coaching job.

The 61-year-old Ryan last coached in the NFL in 2016 when he served as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2015-16. Following his dismissal in Buffalo, Ryan joined the Worldwide Leader in April 2017. He now appears on Sunday NFL Countdown while contributing to Get Up, SportsCenter and ESPN Radio, among other platforms.

Ryan coordinated the Baltimore Ravens’ defense from 2005-08 before a couple of stints as a head coach in the AFC East. He was responsible for coordinating and overseeing some of the league’s best defenses between his time in Baltimore and New York, as he won four playoff games and clinched multiple AFC Championship Game berths as Gang Green’s head man.

Despite a six-year coaching hiatus, Ryan’s defensive expertise could bolster the already formidable Cowboys defense. Given Mike McCarthy’s offensive acumen, finding a defensive counterpart is crucial. Ryan might be the answer.

Interestingly, current Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer worked under Ryan with the Jets for several seasons, so there’s some familiarity there. While Ryan and McCarthy lack prior collaboration, the same could be said for Sean Payton, whom Ryan interviewed for a season prior. There was a familial connection there, though, as Ryan’s brother Rob served as Payton’s DC in New Orleans.

Ryan’s future career plans remain unclear. Should he decide to leave for the NFL, the foot fetish jokes on ESPN would decrease significantly.

[Josina Anderson]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.