|Brian Schottenheimer has 'decided not to return' to the Jets. (Getty Images)|
By Will Brinson
Brian Schottenheimer's been a scapegoat and a half for Jets fans over the past year, owing largely to failures by the team's offense. Many expected him gone after the 2011 season, but Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum were adamant that he wouldn't be fired.
But there were plenty of rumblings that he was on his way out of New York anyway, so it makes total sense that the Jets announced on Tuesday night that he's "decided not to return."
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"After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012," said Schottenheimer in a statement issued by the team. "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."
So, um, yeah. This is a bit weird since he's not "fired" per se, but he's also not exactly leaving for a promotion, which is precisely what Rex intimated at his press conference. If Schotty ends up taking a gig with his dad in Tampa Bay, which is a reasonable possibility, then it's (maybe) a different story.
Otherwise it has a disingenuous feel of a "you've got to go but we're not going to fire you since we said we wouldn't" type of thing. Or he's just looking for a "fresh start." You know, whatever.
"Brian and I talked and I understand his decision to look for a fresh start," Rex Ryan said in the team's 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."
Bill Callahan's gone as well, so it means that the Jets are on the market for an offensive coordinator now. There were rumors that Todd Haley and Tony Sparano were shopping themselves as a package deal, but that just seems too odd to work.
Haley seems like a logical fit, and we wouldn't count out former Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that ex-Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is "first in line" for the offensive coordinator position and could be announced as early as Wednesday.
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