Rex Ryan's status with Jets remains unclear

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm •  Published: December 23, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — If it came down to a vote of players, media and fans, Rex Ryan would be back with the New York Jets next season.

In a landslide.

But the court of public opinion will likely play very little into the final decision by owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik. Ryan's status as coach of the Jets is still difficult to call.

"We're working on Miami, and that's where 100 percent of the focus is," Ryan insisted Monday.

It could be the final game of Ryan's five-year tenure with the Jets (7-8), who have failed to make the playoffs for three straight seasons. Ryan still has one more year remaining on his contract, so the speculation that the coach is in his final days with the Jets could be overstated.

Neither Johnson nor Idzik has commented, and that has led to debates, discussions and arguments whether Ryan deserves to be back. Ryan also declined to comment on whether the owner or GM has spoken to him about his future.

"Guys," Ryan said, "I think the entire organization's committed on trying to find a way to beat Miami."

Several of Ryan's players have used the word "love" when talking about their feelings for their coach during the last few weeks. Many fans have taken to sports talk radio and social media to show their support, with one even starting a petition that had gathered nearly 200 signatures on the site imploring Johnson to keep Ryan.

The hashtag KeepRex on Twitter has also picked up some steam since the Jets' 24-13 victory over Cleveland on Sunday.

"It's just one of those things where he really cares about his players," wide receiver David Nelson said. "Players appreciate that. Players know and they respect him for that. They believe in him and they respect him and they play hard for him.

"I think it's just the mutual respect he gives his players."

Several national and New York-area football columnists have presented compelling arguments why Ryan coming back should be a no-brainer. No. 1 among them is the fact Ryan has squeezed seven wins out of a team expected to have a tough time approaching last year's 6-10 squad.

Despite the overwhelming show of support, Ryan reportedly told his team Saturday night that "word on the street" is that he's out after the season. There was also a published report that said Ryan was angry that the team has begun considering possible replacements.

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