New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL, if not all of sports.
Some people love him, some people can’t stand him. But it’s impossible to ignore him.
Most of the players who have played for him in the past or play for him currently would call him one of the best coaches they ever played for.
But Rex Ryan can’t please everybody all the time. Who can? Former Jets safety Kerry Rhodes was shipped out of town after the 2009 season after not getting along with Ryan in their one season together.
Now, former Jets linebacker/defense lineman Vernon Gholston is speaking out, claiming that he was given a raw deal by Ryan in his two seasons playing under him.
“Being a first-round pick, you would have hoped for more [of a chance],” Gholston said earlier this week.
Gholston recorded zero sacks in his three seasons in New York, after he was drafted with the 6th overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft by ex-Jets coach Eric Mangini.
The first-round bust claimed that Ryan played favorites with his personell, favoring his former players with the Ravens when he brought them along to the Jets.
“Whenever you have a new coach, you hope everything’s fair,” Gholston said. “But obviously, he was in Baltimore for a number of years and has a passion for those guys.”
Those guys that Gholston is likely referring to include linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard, among other ex-Ravens who have spent time with the Jets under Ryan such as defensive linemen Marques Douglas and Trevor Pryce.
What the unproductive, ungrateful Gholston glosses over is the fact that all of those players were very productive for the Jets, both in practices and on the field, something Gholston never was.
To cry about not getting a chance, though? It’s pretty pathetic, for a guy who earned over $20 million guaranteed and did absolutely nothing for three seasons.
Rex Ryan tried everything he could to get something, anything, out of Gholston. He changed his position a few times. He put him in packages that catered to his alleged strengths. Yet still, Gholston was as unproductive as any first-round pick in recent memory.
Even Aaron Maybin, recently cast off by the Buffalo Bills and signed by the Jets, was cut after just two seasons. Gholston was given three!
“I’m confused, because I think I’m fair,” Ryan said in response to Gholston’s comments. “I think I’m more than fair and I think I give plenty of opportunities. But if it wasn’t viewed that way, then that’s it. Again, I’m comfortable with being who I am.”
“My job is not just to make one player better and to feature one player. When I came here, I thought my job was to build the best defense we could possibly build. When you look at it statistically, it’s hard to argue that we weren’t successful in building this defense for the betterment of the New York Jets, not just one player.”
Ryan did not take a shot back at the departed Gholston, who is now fighting for a roster spot as a backup with the Chicago Bears. He took the high road and wished Gholston well on his NFL future.
“I would have liked to have Vernon back, because I thought he was getting better,” Ryan said. “Do I think he’s ever going to be Deacon Jones? No. But I’m pretty comfortable with myself. Nobody likes to hear negative comments or whatever, but if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
“I wanted Vernon to be successful [when he was a Jet]. And I still want him to be successful.”
No matter what Vernon Gholston thinks, there are plenty of Rex Ryan supporters in the organization and around the league. I’m glad that Gholston still finds it necessary to live in the past.
Perhaps he could focus on doing his job instead of mouthing off. Instead of taking shots at his former head coach, maybe he could get a shot on a quarterback at some point during his lackluster career.