Jets, defensive line coach make 'mutual decision' to part ways

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan decided he needed to start making changes.

With the New York Jets spiraling in a 1-5 stretch, Ryan parted ways with defensive line coach Kerry Locklin on Monday in a move the coach called a "mutual decision."

Locklin was hired by Ryan, a longtime friend, after nine seasons as the defensive line coach at Fresno State. The two coached together at Morehead State from 1990-93, and Ryan wouldn't go so far as to say Locklin was fired.

"This is a real sensitive issue," Ryan said. "It's unfortunate, the timing of it. I think it was in both our best interests that we mutually agreed upon this."

The Jets' defensive line has struggled at times, particularly without injured nose tackle Kris Jenkins, and poor tackling contributed to a 24-22 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. The Jets (4-5) were also forced to burn a crucial timeout in the second half -- something Ryan called "totally unacceptable" -- when they had 12 players on the field.

"It's never just one thing," Ryan said. "There were some disagreements. Let's just put it that way. It was really more of, there's some issues, some personal issues that have been behind us."

Defensive assistant Jeff Weeks and pass rushing instructor Chuck Smith will handle the defensive line, with Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine overseeing it.

Locklin, a former tight end, was a sixth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams out of New Mexico State in 1982. He also played with the Denver Broncos and Arizona of the USFL before going into coaching.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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