Before agreeing to a trade with the New Orleans Saints for coach Sean Payton, the Denver Broncos first tried to hire DeMeco Ryans, according to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
After Ryans turned the Broncos down and joined the Houston Texans, Denver then finalized a trade with the Saints for Payton. Broncos owner/CEO Greg Penner previously tried to talk Jim Harbaugh into leaving the University of Michigan, so it seems that Payton was his third choice.
Ryans, 38, had a ten-year career as a player in the NFL, earning two Pro Bowl nods and one All-Pro selection while playing for the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles.
After winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, Ryans went on to total 970 tackles, 41 pass breakups, 13.5 sacks, seven interceptions and seven forced fumbles during his accomplished career as a player.
After hanging up his cleats, Ryans began his coaching career as a defensive quality control coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. After just one season, he was promoted to linebackers coach before later being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021.
Now, just eight years after his final season as a player, Ryans is set to become a head coach in the NFL, completing a quick rise up the coaching ranks. He led the NFL's No. 1 defense in 2022, allowing a league-low 16.3 points per game.
Ryans now lands in Houston, Payton lands in Denver and Harbaugh remains in Michigan.
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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire