Former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan passed away after battling cancer, at the age of 82. Ryan was a legendary defensive coach, particularly in Chicago, where he was the coordinator for the legendary 85 Bears defense. He spent several years as the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals.
With such an impressive resume and tenure, it’s no wonder Ryan’s children also found a home coaching defense for teams. One of those children is current head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Rex Ryan. A former head coach of the New York Jets and a long-time Baltimore Ravens defensive coach, Rex was clearly a student of not just the game, but Buddy’s teachings of it. His father meant a lot to him on and off the field, helping Rex become the success he is today.
Earlier in the afternoon, Rex Ryan released a statement to the media about the passing of his father, his father’s legacy, and what his dad meant to him throughout his entire life. You can read the statement below.
On behalf of the entire Ryan family, we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their sympathies, prayers and warm thoughts with the passing of my dad. He was many things to many people–outstanding coach, mentor, fierce competitor, father figure, faithful friend and the list goes on. But to me and my brothers Rob and Jim, he was so much more. He was everything you want in a dad–tough when he had to be, compassionate when you didn’t necessarily expect it, and a loving teacher and confidant who cherished his family. He truly was out hero.
For Rob and me, we’ve had the great fortune of sharing the coaching profession that he was so proud of and cherished so much. There is no way we can possibly begin to measure how much football we have learned from him over the years and we are forever thankful to him for instilling within us his unwavering love for the game of football.
While today is a tough day for all of us in the Ryan family, we are consoled in knowing how much dad was loved by so many and the love he gave back in return. Though we will miss him dearly, we take comfort in knowing that his memory will live on through all of us.