Son of the great Buddy Ryan, who became the head coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Following his coaching career, he became an analysis for ESPN's Super Bowl LI pregame and postgame shows.
He played college football as a defensive end for Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
He coached the New York Jets to two consecutive AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010.
He married Michelle Ryan in 1987, and the couple later had two sons, Rob and Jim. His twin brother is fellow football coach Rob Ryan.
From 1999-2004, he served as a defensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens under head coach Bill Belichick.