NEW YORK – Tony Sparano is still the Jets' offensive coordinator.
And, as unlikely as it seems, there remains a chance he could be running Rex Ryan's offense next season.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Jets have not yet made a decision on Sparano's job status despite many fans and media having speculated that Sparano will certainly be fired after one season. That means there's a possibility, although it would appear slim, that Sparano could remain on Ryan's staff. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the status of the coaching staff publicly.
Ryan, along with all of his assistants, are off until next Monday as they take a break following a dismal 6-10 season that was capped by general manager Mike Tannenbaum being fired Monday. Ryan, who is vacationing in the Bahamas, and owner Woody Johnson will not address the media until next Tuesday.
While Johnson said in a statement that Ryan will remain the Jets' coach for next season, there still remains some uncertainty on which coaches will be back and which ones will not as the team searches for a new general manager. San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble, Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell, Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross and former Cleveland GM Tom Heckert are expected to be among those interviewed by the Jets starting later this week.
Much of the coaching staff decisions will likely depend on who the new general manager is. It is believed Ryan will be safe regardless of who is hired, but there could be changes made on the coach's staff. While Sparano's status is uncertain, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine turned down a contract extension earlier in the season, and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired after the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.
Sparano was hired last March to replace Brian Schottenheimer and to turn around an offense that struggled mightily. Instead, the former Miami Dolphins head coach wasn't able to jumpstart the running game or figure out a way to use Tim Tebow consistently. Sparano was expected to use Tebow as a major part of the Jets' wildcat-style offense, but the popular backup quarterback was mostly a non-factor — failing to get into the end zone during his first and likely only season in New York.
Mark Sanchez also had a miserable season, getting benched for the first time in his career and leaving his status as the team's starting quarterback next year in serious doubt.
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