Rex Ryan reportedly promised Tyrod Taylor he would be his starting QB
The Buffalo Bills were planning to fire Rex Ryan at the end of the 2016 season, but the head coach accelerated the process by requesting a private conversation with team owner Terry Pegula. And in that meeting, Ryan reportedly sealed his fate by being loyal to his starting quarterback.
Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB provided some behind-the-scenes information about Ryan’s final days with the Bills. In his meeting with Pegula, Ryan learned that the team wanted to bench Tyrod Taylor for Week 17 rather than risking the quarterback’s contract becoming fully guaranteed in the event of an injury. That didn’t sit well with Ryan, who is said to have made a promise to Taylor.
More from Vrentas:
Both were obvious signs that the Bills were not committed to Taylor — or to Ryan, who had handpicked Taylor to be his quarterback. So Ryan, who for a few weeks had been hearing reports of his impending firing, asked to speak to Pegula one-on-one. Ryan had made a promise to Taylor, telling him that he’d be the Bills starting quarterback as long as Ryan was the coach. Ryan didn’t want to break his word, and he was worried how the team would respond. If you are already planning on firing me next Monday, Ryan told Pegula, then you might as well fire me now.
So Pegula did.
Taylor was coming off one of his best games of the season against the New York Jets, and we later learned he was playing through a significant injury. With Ryan’s days clearly numbered, the coach saw no reason to go back on his word just to please his former bosses.
Ryan may have deserved to lose his job, but the comments Bills general manager Doug Whaley made this week illustrate how deep the issues run within the organization. Rex has always been known as a players’ coach, so the story about his dismissal — which came slightly ahead of schedule — makes a lot of sense.