It’s not often that the bombastic Rex Ryan is at a loss for words, but the ESPN analyst had trouble fighting through tears when it came to his former coworker.
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was the subject of a beautiful pregame piece showing how Lynn was able to fulfill a dream of building a school in Tanzania. It’s absolutely worth a viewing here:
Then came the reaction portion in the ESPN “Sunday Morning Countdown” studio, with host Sam Ponder asking Ryan — Lynn’s coworker for eight years on NFL staffs — what Lynn means to him. The reaction is pure and emotional. And it’s Ryan barely able to get words out.
It’s maybe easy to roll your eyes at Ryan from time to time, but not here. This is where you can see elements of the coach who galvanized a Jets team for a New York minute and the one whom some of his former players and coaches loved for who he was.
Ryan couldn’t even finish the segment, needing an assist from ESPN analyst Louis Riddick. Great teamwork there, too.
Lynn and Ryan were together on those New York Jets teams together, and they spent two more on the staff of the Buffalo Bills when Ryan was head coach. After Ryan was fired, it was Lynn who replaced Ryan as interim head coach. Lynn has gone out of his way to credit Ryan for helping him become an NFL head coach.
This story is a home run on so many levels. For Lynn, it’s a great look at a man who has not only had success on the field as a player but as a coach, too, and his contributions outside of football are just as significant as anything else.
And for Ryan, this peels away at the cartoonish character we so often see. It shows that he has some real, deep emotion for his friend and how much Lynn has impacted him.
You love to see the philanthropy Lynn has been a huge part of in Africa, and you can’t help but be moved by Ryan’s reaction to it. Round of applause for both men here.
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