Rob Ryan: A New Orleans cult hero
Rob Ryan has only been in the Crescent City a little over a year, but he's already a cult hero. His silver locks and top five NFL defense have taken the town by storm.
"I'd rather be a hero than a goat. So hell, I want to make sure we do the right thing. I love New Orleans, it just happens to be an awesome city that appreciates a good guy," said Ryan.
This offseason Ryan staked his claim as the "King of New Orleans." He was the Grand Marshall of Argus in Metairie on Mardi Gras Day.
"I'm ready to go. I got my Drew Brees jersey on I'm ready to chunk it," Ryan said before the parade.
He could also be found on Bayou St. John dancing at Greek Fest.
"My wife is Greek. Honestly, she was the best dancer out there. She was dominating out there I was trying to follow," explained Ryan.
He was even spotted on the parade route marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Ryan is a man of the people, and to Saints fans he's now one of their own.
"If you would just look at him anywhere, you'd say 'oh, that's New Orleans, that's home cooking there' and this is the best thing I think ever happened to him. I just hope he never leaves us because I think New Orleans is the best thing that ever happened to him because he's got like we've all - that home cooking," said Bobby Blake, pointing to his gut.
On the field, Ryan's players love him not only for his defensive tactics, but how he gets the most out of every player on his unit.
"The guy is electric. When he comes into a room you feel it," said Akiem Hicks, DE. "He's one of those guys when he steps in a room you know he's there. Not because he's loud and rambunctious, just because he has a personality that just takes over. He brings that every day, it's amazing. You see a person come in and get really fired up for one or two weeks or a month. This guy brings it the entire season, the entire offseason, he just doesn't stop. It's something you look forward to, and it's motivating as a player."
"He's someone that works extremely hard at it. But the passion part of it, amount of time he spends with his players - all of those things make him special," added Sean Payton.
Plus, he's good with nicknames giving star cornerback Keenan Lewis, a New Orleans native, one of the better monikers of training camp.
"The Westbank? Well that's where he's from and he's proud of that. I'm holding down Uptown. He's definitely Westbank," said Ryan.
If Ryan does continue to run a top-five defense for the Saints, a head coaching job could be in his future. But for now, he's just living it up to New Orleans.
"It's a lot of fun, we love this town. We plan on doing something special here. We want to be a little tiny part of our success. I think the town like us even more this year."
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