Jets fans got their wish. It just came a week later than they had hoped for.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer informed the team he will not be back with the Jets next season.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012,” said Schottenheimer in a statement released late Tuesday. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the six years I have been here. I am grateful for the relationships that I have with our players and coaches and appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into our success. My family and I would like to thank Rex Ryan and the entire Jets organization and wish them continued success. I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”
ESPN reported Tuesday evening that the Jets were interested in bringing
in former Miami head coach Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator.
“Brian and I talked and I understand his decision to look for a fresh start,” said Ryan in a statement. “I’d like to thank him for all of his contributions these past three seasons. He’s been right there with me, shoulder to shoulder, and played a key role in our success, helping us to reach two AFC Championship games. As I’ve said before, coaching is in his bloodlines; he has a tremendous work ethic and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with him. He has acquired a lot of experience at a young age and has a bright future in front of him. I know that he will be a successful head coach one day — probably sooner than later.”
It was just one week ago that Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum held a press conference after the season ended to say that Schottenheimer would return in 2012.
“We do expect Brian Schottenheimer back. He’s been with us now six years and we really respect the job he’s done with three different quarterbacks, two championship games,” Tannenbaum said last Monday. “He’s done an incredible job for us.”
Apparently not so.
Schottenheimer had been widely criticized by fans for his play-calling, with “Fire Schotty” chants becoming the norm at MetLife Stadium. The Jets offense finished 25th in the league this past season and degenerated into fighting in the huddle in the final game. Schottenheimer made the decision to bench Santonio Holmes after he got into an argument with tackle Wayne Hunter in the course of the game.
It was speculated last week when the Jets endorsed Schottenheimer that they were doing so because he was up for multiple head coaching positions, including the Jaguars.
The Jets also said goodbye to offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who took the same position in Dallas. He was formerly a head coach in Oakland and at the University of Nebraska.
Follow New York sports editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.