Rex Ryan will be joining ESPN’s NFL Countdown full-time, as first reported by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The report says it is a multi-year deal. An ESPN spokesperson declined to comment on the story for The Big Lead.
The news hardly comes as a surprise. The former Bills and Jets head coach was part of ESPN’s Super Bowl pregame coverage. At the time, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand wrote that this “clearly makes ESPN a front-runner to sign Ryan to a longer deal if he’s unable to find a coaching job he likes.”
With Chris Berman out, Countdown will be a lot different next year. SI’s Richard Deitsch reported earlier this month that the hosting job on Sundays is Sam Ponder’s to turn down and that Suzy Kolber will be hosting Mondays.
Rex Ryan is a logical addition on paper because he’s spent the last decade being boisterous and talking without a filter. This rubs a lot of people the wrong way, and there were times when his teams underperformed that this act wore thin. Anecdotally, his name in headlines began to suffer reader fatigue.
But, voicing strong opinions is emphasized in sports studio shows. Nevertheless, a lot of coaches and general managers filter their true thoughts when they go to ESPN or elsewhere on television. While it may seem unlikely now, it would be a real shame if Rex became one of the talking heads who pulls his shots because he doesn’t want to offend prospective future employers.