Rex Ryan accepted the New York Jets head coaching job in January 2009 and three months later his fate was tied to the team's first-round draft pick, Mark Sanchez. Yet after five seasons, including three straight on the outside of the postseason looking in, Ryan managed to stay with the team while Sanchez did not.
Still, the release of Sanchez on Friday didn't necessarily represent the permanent severing of ties between the quarterback and his former coach. Ryan will still have his tattoo.
Taking a Flier
Ryan previously made headlines for sporting a tattoo on his right arm that featured his wife, Michelle, wearing a Jets jersey with a large No. 6 on the sleeve. On Tuesday morning, Ryan told reporters that the recent release of Sanchez will not result in the removal of the tattoo.
Rex lifted his sleeve to show off his Sanchez tattoo: "As you can see, it’s still there."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) March 25, 2014
While Ryan says he isn't losing the tattoo, he isn't opposed to some modifications being made. Particularly, one that would honor former Jets offensive tackle Winston Hill by adjusting the number of the tattoo to 75.
Hill played 14 seasons and 174 consecutive games with the Jets after signing with them in 1963. He was selected to eights Pro Bowls and his jersey is now retired by the team.
While Hill might be the replacement for Sanchez on Ryan's right arm, his replacement on the Jets roster was Michael Vick. With Vick and incumbent starter Geno Smith ready to lead the team in 2014, Ryan told reporters on Tuesday that he is very optimistic about the immediate future of the team.
Rex on the Jets: "Nobody’s talking about us right now, but they’re going to. And that’s fine and dandy."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) March 25, 2014
The Jets are owners of the No. 18 selection in the 2014 NFL Draft and are projected by SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn to provide Smith and Vick with some help by taking LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.