Jets OC Chan Gailey fuels speculation about future with cryptic remark

Chan Gailey, who turns 65 next week, said he still enjoys coaching but stopped short of saying he wants to coach the Jets in 2017. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Chan Gailey sounded like a man who doesn't expect to be back with the New York Jets.

In his final news conference of the season, the Jets' offensive coordinator, who turns 65 next week, said he still enjoys coaching. But he stopped short of saying he wants to coach the Jets in 2017.

"I've always loved to coach, I’ve always loved to do that," he said Thursday. "I think it’s in my blood. I think it’ll be there until I go to the grave."

Asked specifically he wants to return to the Jets' staff, Gailey replied, "I said I love football and that I love to coach. I always love to coach. That’s all I said."

He described this year as "unsettling," the most difficult season in his coaching career. Maybe he already knows he will be fired. Or maybe he's planning to retire.

If Todd Bowles survives the season, which is expected, he will make changes to his staff. Count on it. Fair or not, a team that endures this type of season usually shakes up the staff. Gailey has presided over one of the worst units in the league, so he could be the sacrificial lamb even though the defensive performance has been more egregious than that of the offense.

A year ago, the Jets were 10th (total yards) and 11th (scoring) in the offensive rankings. This season, they're 25th and 30th, respectively. They've been held to six or fewer points in four games, the most in the league.

It's wrong to say it's Gailey's fault. He has started three different quarterbacks (none of whom has played well), he lost wide receiver Eric Decker early in the year and his offensive line is down to only one original starter. It's bleak.

Gailey was lured out of retirement by Bowles in January of 2015, and his first season as the coordinator was fantastic. Reunited, Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick formed a smart and seasoned playcaller-quarterback tandem. Fitzpatrick set the franchise record with 31 touchdown passes, but he has bottomed out this year.

"Everybody’s physical skills wane with years once you reach your peak," Gailey said of Fitzpatrick. "He still has lots of skills. Are they what they were the first time I saw him? No, they’re not."

Some might be wondering the same thing about Gailey.

"I probably didn’t get totally dumb in one year," he said. "You have to keep up. You have to change. You have to adjust. I think we’ve done that fairly well through the years. How do you know? You think so, but you don’t know."