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Rex Ryan disliked Tony Sparano but now says, “That’s my guy”

Rex Ryan, Tony Sparano

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, left, and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano talk during team practice Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Tony Sparano’s Dolphins went 3-2 against Rex Ryan’s Jets in the five meetings between the two coaches, but the one that made Ryan both dislike coaching against Sparano and want to coach alongside Sparano came on a Monday night in 2009, when the Dolphins won 31-27.

Ryan told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that after that particular game, he was furious because he felt that Sparano’s offense had out-smarted Ryan’s defense.

“I was pissed,” Ryan said. “I’m like, ‘I’m going to kick that dude’s ass next time.’

After their postgame handshake, Ryan said of Sparano, “I don’t like this dude.” But while he didn’t like coaching against him, Ryan knows that the kind of coach he doesn’t like coaching against is exactly the kind of offensive coordinator he wants on his staff. So when Sparano was fired last season as the Dolphins’ head coach, Ryan knew he wanted to hire him.

“After he became available,” Ryan said, “I’m like, ‘Oh, hell, yeah . . . that’s my guy.’”

After the disappointment of the 2011 season, Ryan needs a guy who can turn his offense around. He believes from first-hand experience that Sparano is the man for the job.