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Rex Ryan: I used to dislike new Jets OC Tony Sparano

Once the New York Jets' brass internally made the decision to move on from offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer this year, only one external candidate stood out for Jets coach Rex Ryan.

It was Tony Sparano, the former Miami Dolphins coach who had memorably beaten Ryan at his own ground-and-pound game on a Monday night in 2009.

After Ryan and Sparano took part in the customary midfield handshake following a rough 31-27 Jets loss, Ryan turned to a team employee and said, "I don't like this dude."

"I was pissed," Ryan recalled, according to the New York Daily News. "I'm like, 'I'm going to kick that dude's ass next time.'"

Games between Ryan's Jets and Sparano's Dolphins almost always came down to the final possession, tight battles that earned Ryan's respect. Now the Jets' offensive coordinator, Sparano is a coach Ryan believes shares the same sensibilities Ryan has for his beloved defense.

"After he became available," Ryan said, "I'm like, 'Oh, hell, yeah … that's my guy.'"

We're firmly in the honeymoon phase here, but the pressure will soon be on Sparano to turn around a Jets' offense that sorely disappointed a season ago.

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