Jets’ Ryan not about to change flippant ways
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Rex Ryan tried to keep the embarrassing moments to a minimum Saturday.
He walked to the podium at the NFL’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis, held up every finger long enough for reporters to count and even kept his shirt on.
It’s a much better look than what fans have been seeing lately.
“I’m watching ESPN and I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s not a real good shot,”‘ Ryan said, drawing laughter while talking about the unflattering image of him changing hockey jerseys. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I get hit on all the time by women.”
It might wind up being another whoops moment for New York’s coach, after all.
But this hasn’t been the best offseason for Ryan, who is entering his second season as the Jets coach.
After losing to Indianapolis in the AFC championship game, a camera phone snapped a photo of Ryan making an obscene gesture during a mixed martial arts event in Florida on Pro Bowl weekend. That action drew a $50,000 fine from the Jets but no additional penalties from the league.
Then, while attending a Florida Panthers-Carolina Hurricanes game, Ryan was captured in still photos and on video changing into a Hurricanes jersey – a revealing portrait of Ryan’s rotund midsection.
Life-altering? Not a chance.
“All last year, it’s funny, I used to go into New York all the time and nobody recognized me. I guess they assumed that the head coach of the Jets wouldn’t be wearing a throwback (jersey) or something, but that’s who I am,” Ryan said. “That’s not going to change. I’m going to be who I am. I’m still going to take the train into the city. I’m going to be true to myself and that’s the way it’s going to be as long as I’m a coach.”
Ryan didn’t wait long to prove he was back to being his old self Saturday.
After making an opening statement, an NFL official announced Mississippi receiver Shea Hodge was doing interviews at table five. Ryan paused briefly, then delivered his punch line: “Shea is at table five, in case anyone is interested in that.”
He followed that up by mimicking a second announcement during his 15-minute media availability, his first since being fined.
And Ryan, of course, poked fun at everything from the combine to himself.
“I enjoy watching the drills, seeing how guys move,” Ryan said as offensive linemen, tight ends, punters and kickers worked out at Lucas Oil Stadium. “You watch the offensive linemen run the 40, it’s like ‘Geez, glad he made it.”‘
He also found a creative way to brush off questions about the possibility of bringing in Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Rumors have been spreading that the Jets want to trade for the Pro Bowler and put him opposite Darrelle Revis, a move that would give New York the best cornerback pairing in the league.
“There you go, trying to get me in trouble,” Ryan said. “I get myself in enough trouble. I think I’ll pass on the talking about any player that’s under contract.”
Ryan didn’t have to mention that talking about other team’s players could be construed as tampering and draw additional penalties from the league office.
But Ryan isn’t changing much.
He promises to be himself next season because that is his personality, though Ryan unplugged may be toned down a bit.
“Look, I made a mistake and I realize that. I’ve made a bunch of mistakes in my life but I have to take responsibility for my own actions,” Ryan said. “I’m learning from it. I’m no boy scout, but I am learning from it.”