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Jets likely to hire Ryan

NEW YORK -- The Jets' head-coaching search might be over now that the Baltimore Ravens' season is.

The Jets were expected to offer Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan their head-coaching job as early as Monday after Baltimore lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 32-25 in Sunday night's AFC Championship Game.

Ryan, 46, would replace the fired Eric Mangini and take over a New York team that started last season 8-3 but missed the playoffs with quarterback Brett Favre after a late-season collapse.

It became apparent that Ryan was at the top of the Jets' list of candidates when several other teams filled their head-coaching vacancies and New York's remained open. The Jets needed the Ravens' season to end before they could offer Ryan the job.

The Jets declined comment through team spokesman Bruce Speight.

Ryan is the son of former NFL coach Buddy Ryan and twin brother of Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Rex Ryan has been the Ravens' defensive coordinator for the last four seasons.

Baltimore has been ranked in the top six in total yardage allowed under Ryan, including second overall this season while leading the NFL with 34 takeaways.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh had high praise for Ryan after the team fell one win short of the Super Bowl.

"He should have an opportunity to be a head coach soon," Harbaugh said, "and he's deserving of it."

Ryan, who also interviewed for the St. Louis Rams job that went to New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on Saturday, impressed the Jets when he met with team officials for several hours earlier this month.

If hired, this would be the first head-coaching job for Ryan, who's said to be well-liked among his players because of his straightforward, no-nonsense style.

The Jets interviewed at least five other candidates, including Spagnuolo, Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks and fired Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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