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New York Jets lightning rod offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer issued a statement to the team late last night informing the team that he would not be returning in 2012.
Here is Schottenheimer’s official statement, via the Star-Ledger:
After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012. 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.
It is safe to assume that Schottenheimer was encouraged to step down and I am willing to bet he was financially compensated in some way for doing so, perhaps a fraction of the $3 million dollars he was set to earn this year. The Jets have been loyal to Schotty in public – to a fault – and they likely believed the only way for the matter to be settled gracefully was for Schottenheimer to leave on his own accord. A firing might have affected his opportunity to be hired for any future head coaching or coordinator openings, and it seems the Jets did not want to do that to their long-term employee.
Only problem is that their outlandish endorsement of Schotteheimer last week (and all season) only adds to the Jets growing credibility problem. It is now safe to assume that everything out of Rex And Tannenbaum’s mouth is subject to dissection. (As if it wasn’t’ already).
As for the future of Schottenheimer, it was announced late last night that Falcons Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey will be the new head coach in Jacksonville. Schottenheimer interviewed for the position last Friday. He is also out of contention for the position in Florida, which he had been linked to for the past few weeks.
Then there is Brian’s father, Marty, who is interviewing for the head coaching position in Tampa Bay. Speculative reports have Brian joining his father in Tampa Bay, should Marty be hired, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter is now reporting that Brian will not join his father if he is hired in Tampa Bay.
Schottenheimer’s departure Tuesday was part of a mass exodus: Schottenheimer joins offensive line and assistant head coach Bill Callahan ,assistant defensive line coach Jeff Weeks and receivers coach Henry Ellard on the list of staff members to leave New York. S
It should be noted that no one was fired; Callahan left for another position, Schottenheimer resigned and Ellard/Weeks were not retained.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported last night via his Twitter that Tony Sparano, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins, is the leading candidate for the Jets offensive coordinator vacancy. Manish Mehta of the Daily News later confirmed the report. Though nothing official has been announced, all signs point to Sparano replacing Schottenheimer, with Todd Haley possibly joining the team as assistant head coach and wide receivers coordinator. Haley is visiting the Jets facility today.
This story will continue to develop, so stay tuned for an announcement regarding the offensive coordinator vacancy shortly.