Jets were close to keeping Favre

Rex Ryan only talked to Brett Favre once when becoming the new head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, but Ryan was close to making a strong pitch to keeping Favre. The ever-confident Ryan is convinced the recruiting pitch would have worked, too.

For different reasons, both Santonio Holmes and Brett Favre will be returning to the Meadowlands on Monday night. And if things had worked out a little differently, maybe they could have been teammates with the host Jets.

When asked Monday about Favre, Jets' coach Rex Ryan admitted for the first time that he would have tried to coax Favre into re-upping with the Jets.

That is, if Mark Sanchez hadn't already been in the fold.

"There would have been some major recruiting done," Ryan said of Favre, who now quarterbacks the 1-2 Minnesota Vikings, who will be visiting the Jets on Monday. "I can say that absolutely. And, maybe no one knows it or whatever, but I can promise you that's how I was feeling."

A few weeks after the Jets hired Ryan as head coach in January 2009, Favre, the iconic quarterback who dislikes off-season conditioning, spring practices and two-a-days, announced one of his many retirements. Ryan said Monday that although he thought Favre was "sincere" when he retired that February, he still would've made a pitch to him had the Jets not been able to trade with Cleveland and select Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Ryan has proven to be very convincing when pitching players, so it's possible he might have been able to coax Favre into playing for the Jets instead of Minnesota, the team he wanted to play for all along once he left Green Bay. Of course, the Jets (3-1) are happy they have Sanchez, especially considering he has eight touchdown passes and zero interceptions in the first four games of the 2010 season. Favre, meanwhile, has two touchdown throws and six picks in three games.

Not surprisingly, the uber-confident coach believes his pitch would have been successful.

"Yeah, I do," Ryan said. "Because (Favre) would have seen how sincere I was, and the kind of passion I have. I'm not going to say it's equal to his, but maybe it is. We both want to win, I know that."

The Jets have done nothing but win since their opening-night loss to Baltimore, and now they finally will have the services of wideout Holmes, suspended for the first four games of the season by the NFL for violating its substance-abuse policy. That ruling came down shortly after the Jets acquired Holmes in a trade with Pittsburgh in April.

Ryan jokingly said, "I don't think (Holmes) is ready to play," and then added, "he can't wait to play. That much I know for a fact. Everybody knows that about Santonio. He is a great competitor and competitors want to play. He's going to do whatever it takes to get on that field and contribute to this football team."

Holmes hasn't been allowed to practice during his suspension, but has been allowed to work out at the Jets' facility and attend meetings, thus Ryan believes, "we shouldn't miss a beat with him."

Ryan said he only talked to Favre once, on the day he announced that soon-to-be-rescinded retirement.

"I think it was a tough time for him," Ryan said. "I mean, he's basically announcing his retirement from football and I wasn't going to stay on the phone with him. He doesn't know anything about me. I was just some random guy talking to him, so I kind of felt uncomfortable. I'm sure he did also."

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