New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was one of the best offseason acquisitions -- player or coach -- made by any team in the NFL this year. But before Ryan agreed to join the Saints, he had first agreed to join the St. Louis Rams.
Ryan actually spent a weekend working as the Rams’ defensive coordinator under Jeff Fisher in January before changing his mind. As ESPN’s Ed Werder reported in February, Fisher said Ryan actually let him know by walking into his office and dropping his keys on Fisher’s desk.
When asked about that turn of events on Wednesday, Fisher didn’t express any lingering resentment.
“Well, you know, people sometimes in life change their mind. And I was fine with that. I had no problem,” Fisher said in a conference call with the New Orleans media as the Rams (5-8) prepare to host the Saints (10-3) on Sunday. “I want people to … if he wanted to go there, fine. If he wanted to stay here, it was great. I thought we had … we were obviously talking, and we spent a couple days together. And he had a change of heart. And that’s fine. I respect him for that.”
When asked if Ryan had officially been hired at the time, Fisher said, “Well, I mean, he had made a commitment to us. He didn’t sign a contract or anything, but he had made a commitment to us.”
Ryan hasn’t talked about that turn of events since joining the Saints (mostly because it became a forgotten subject once he first met with the media in the summer). But he’ll no doubt be asked about it Friday when he speaks for the first time this week.
Obviously the decision worked out great for Ryan. He has made a tremendous impact on the Saints’ revitalized defense. And in turn, Ryan has repeatedly talked about what a great organization this has been, saying things like, “This is the most excited about any spot that I’ve ever been,” and, “It feels like home.”
Ryan has already clinched his first winning record in 10 years as a defensive coordinator including stops with the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Saints. And he will almost certainly make his first trip to the playoffs as a defensive coordinator (he did win two Super Bowls as a linebackers coach with the New England Patriots).