Colon: Firing Ryan would hurt franchise

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
4:39
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Willie Colon doesn't want to see Rex Ryan get fired. The veteran guard said it would hurt the franchise if Ryan isn't the New York Jets' coach in 2014.

"I think if he doesn't come back it would be a step back for us as a team," Colon said Monday, one day after a loss that put them on the brink of elimination.

Colon has been Ryan's most vocal supporter, which is interesting because he's played only one season under him.

"I'll stand on a soap box and say, 'Rex is my coach,'" Colon added. "He's one of the main reasons I came here. I love the guy to death. I love his passion, I love his heart."

The Jets dropped to 6-8 with Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The loss clinched their third straight non-winning season, raising questions about Ryan's future. Only a handful of players showed up in the locker room Monday during the media period. One of them was quarterback Geno Smith, who sidestepped a question about Ryan.

Asked if he wants Ryan to remain the coach, Smith didn't give an answer, although he did say, "I love Rex. Despite what decision is made, my feelings toward him will never change."

Center Nick Mangold, one of the team's longest-tenured players, said he doesn't pay attention to the talk about Ryan's future. Asked if the locker room still believes in Ryan, Mangold replied, "We're competitors who believe in each other. We believe in our coaches, we believe in our locker room. Otherwise, we wouldn't show up day in and day out."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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