On paper, Rob Ryan of the Saints appears to have a stellar NFL head coaching resume.
The 51-year-old has worked as a defensive coordinator for four teams, including the Cleveland Browns, who are looking for a new head coach. In his first year in New Orleans, Ryan turned one of the worst defenses in NFL history into the fourth-ranked unit in the league. His short tenure has been so impressive that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already admitted that it was a mistake to fire Ryan.
Ryan's schemes and teaching methods are in high demand, especially with NFL offenses advancing at such a fast pace. So, what's holding him back?
Apparently, it's not what's in Ryan's head that scares away teams, it's what's on his head.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen said several NFL executives told him that Ryan's flowing locks won't fly with front offices.
"If he wants to be a head coach, he has to cut his hair," Mortensen said, quoting team executives. "It is about image for these guys. They want a CEO-type. That's what they want."
This puts Ryan in a hairy situation. He has the resume and the pedigree to be a head coach (his twin brother, Rex, is the coach of the Jets and his father, Buddy, coached the Eagles and Cardinals). But he may need to shave his locks.
For his part, Saints head coach Sean Payton thinks Ryan is ready for a top job.
"Obviously he's a coach that I think is going to be a head coach,” Payton said. "Obviously we made great improvements from a year ago. He brings an enthusiasm with him, a personality that is contagious."
If Ryan does decide to get a cut, we'd recommend he avoid Kobe Bryant's barber.
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