The New York Jets signed popular coach Rex Ryan to a two-year contract extension Thursday, removing the lame duck label from Ryan and potentially keeping him with the franchise through at least the 2015 season.
Ryan, who had one year remaining on his contract, was retained by owner Woody Johnson for next season after his job appeared in jeopardy. Expectations were extremely low outside the team entering this season, but Ryan led the Jets to a surprising 8-8 finish that had players and fans clamoring for Johnson and General Manager John Idzik to keep the coach.
Johnson, who announced after the season-ending win at Miami that Ryan would be back, rewarded him with the extension and removed the specter of him heading into next season without a contract beyond this year. Ryan is 42-38 in the regular season in his five years with the Jets.
OLIVADOTTI RETURNS — Kirk Olivadotti is returning to the Washington Redskins as inside linebackers coach, and new coach Jay Gruden is retaining Raheem Morris as defensive backs coach and Jacob Burney as defensive line coach.
Olivadotti spent 11 seasons with the Redskins from 2000-10 and worked the last three years as inside linebacker coach at Georgia.
Morris and Burney are holdovers from the staff of coach Mike Shanahan, who was fired earlier this month.
Morris returns for his third Redskins season. He and Gruden previously worked together at Tampa Bay.
BILLS HIRE HAFLEY — The Buffalo Bills have hired Jeff Hafley as a defensive assistant coach.
In announcing the move Thursday, the Bills didn’t specify what Hafley’s responsibilities would be. The Bills have one opening on their defensive staff after inside linebackers coach Chuck Driesbach was fired on Monday.
Hafley spent the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and was the team’s safeties coach last year.
PRO BOWL ADD — Dallas defensive tackle Jason Hatcher was added to the Pro Bowl and will be a first-time participant. Hatcher led the Cowboys with a career-high 11 sacks for an injury-depleted defense making the transition to a four-man front. He is replacing Baltimore nose tackle Haloti Ngata.
COWBOY TESTIFIES —One of the Dallas Cowboys players who was with former defensive tackle Josh Brent the night of a crash that killed a teammate took the stand at Brent’s intoxication manslaughter trial. Safety Danny McCray testified that he, Brent and others played video games on Dec. 7, 2012, before going to dinner and a Dallas nightclub.