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Former Oiler Coach Buddy Ryan Battling Cancer

According to this ESPN report, former Houston Oilers defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan is battling cancer. His son, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, said Buddy was not diagnosed with melanoma, which he has beaten twice already.

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Sad to see Buddy doing so poorly. I have some fond memories of his brief stint with the Oilers (he was only there for one year, in 1993). Considering I was 11 that year, I had forgotten that Ryan coached on the team that lost to Kansas City's Joe Montana.

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Ryan's defense that year ranked fourth in points allowed and 14th in yardage. Defensive tackle Ray Childress also led the team in something called Approximate Value, which is a stat they cooked up over at Pro Football Reference. The defense gave up 3.4 yards per rush and 238 total points. Linebacker Al Smith led the team in tackles with 92 while Marcus Robertson led the team in interceptions with seven and was second in tackles with 82, despite missing three games.

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Of course, what Houston fans remember most is Ryan punching Kevin Gilbride on the sidelines of a game against the New York Jets. Craziest thing I've seen to date on a football broadcast and it still makes me smile. At the time, I didn't realize what it meant for the team, but it did provide me with joke fodder for years.

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Here's wishing Ryan the best of luck with his treatment and maybe for Rex to not talk so much or Rob to cut his hair.

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.