Slimmed-Down Coach Celebrates 1-Year Mark Since Dropping 100 Pounds

NEW YORK (WLNY) — New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has dealt with great adversity on the field with his team the past year.

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But through it all, he kept his eye on the ball in regards to something more important than football: his health.

It’s been two years since Ryan underwent Laparoscopic gastric banding – or lap band surgery – to help him lose weight. He’s since dropped over 100 pounds, and kept it off for a year.

“I’ve changed my eating habits, I’ve learned how to eat like a normal person, I guess,” he said with a laugh. “It’s really worked.”

Ryan said he tries to eat at home at least five times a week.

“This way, I’m able to select healthier foods and can cut out the unnecessary calories that often go into the preparation of our meals when we dine out at restaurants.”

The surgery is different than gastric bypass surgery, which is a stomach stapling.

“[The band] is just a little thing that goes around the portion of your stomach – it’s like a filter type of thing,” Ryan said. “You definitely get full faster, but the beauty of the lap-band is that I can eat whatever I want, but you learn portion control.”

As Ryan described, the surgery sets off a lifestyle change, which helped him to recognize signs of true hunger and take steps to alter his everyday habits. Another big part of his weight loss, he said, is finding the right doctor.

“You have to get the right surgeon. To have that kind of success, you need the right surgeon. It’s not just about doing the surgery, it’s about the follow up as well. With the lap band, you can make adjustments.”

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Meanwhile, the Jets are also doing some major surgery – to their roster.

The team took two defensive players with first round picks: Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson, a defensive tackle out of Missouri.

Some folks were surprised, as last season made it clear Gang Green also needs some help on the offensive side.

“We were prepared going into that draft, without question, and felt great about it,” Ryan said. “The fact that these players were there, they were the best players on our board, and they certainly can make an impact on our football team. You’re looking at possibly replacing six or seven starters on defense, as well as several on offense. There are several spots needs to be addressed.”

Prior to the draft, the Jets traded cornerback Darrelle Revis, a move that caused a media firestorm and backlash from fans.

“It was a real pleasure to coach Darrelle, but it became apparent that we were not going to reach a long-term agreement with him,” Ryan said. “As much as we wanted that to happen, that was not in the cards for us.  We made the trade and we’re fortunate to get a good football player as well.”

And of course, Tebow-mania continues to make headlines, with the team releasing the quarterback earlier this week.

“With the benefit of hindsight, it’s probably a trade that didn’t benefit the Jets or Tim,” he said. “We made the efforts, we thought it would be a good move obviously, and it just didn’t work out. I certainly hope he has success at other places.”

Ryan said he wouldn’t mind coaching the Jets for “about another 20 years.”

“Obviously the results weren’t what we wanted last year, there’s no question about that,” Ryan said. “But I’m excited about this team going forward. One things for certain: whoever is on the field is going to have to earn their way on their through competition and I think that’s gonna ultimately really help out team. I believe when we take the field opening day, our guys will be popping out of their skin ready to play.”

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