Rex's Ravens still love him
Rex’s exes still in love with Jets coach
By STEVE SERBY
Last Updated: 3:51 AM, January 29, 2013
NEW ORLEANS — On one side of the room was Ray Lewis, ending his Hall of Fame career with a Super Bowl. On the other side, at separate podiums, sat Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, grizzled Ravens champions getting their first shot at a ring.
All Rex Ryan’s men.
All 60 minutes from shaking hands with the president at the White House.
All instrumental in getting Rex Ryan his first head coaching job.
Rex’s Exes at the Super Bowl.
And Rex a long, long way away from one.
But if Rex is a lame duck in 2013, he remains their lame duck.
Who is here with them, if only in spirit.
Thank you, Rex, from your exes.
“All I can really say is that I love the man to death,” Suggs said last night. “He’s one helluva football coach, he’s one helluva ball coach. If it is his last year as a New York Jet head coach, it won’t be his last year as a coach, it damn sure won’t be his last year as a head coach. He’s a players’ coach, he’s a real coach, and I wish him all the best. I hope things turn around for him, except when he’s playing the Baltimore Ravens.”
Suggs was asked if he was concerned when Ryan left as Ravens defensive coordinator to coach the Jets in 2009.
“I wouldn’t say concerned, but me, Rex and Mike Pettine [a Ravens assistant who followed Ryan to the Jets to become defensive coordinator], we have a relationship that’s more than football,” Suggs said. “Like I said, I love the man, I think the world of him. When he left, it was just, ‘Congratulations, Rex, I love you, but whenever I face you, just know I’m aiming to kick your ass, so you better bring it.’ And he said, ‘I will bring it so you better bring it.’ ”
Suggs was then asked for a Rex anecdote.
“I don’t have really any anecdotes, some things are just sacred, some things you don’t let out of the meeting room, out of your locker room, but just know he’s a rare breed of coach, and. . .
“He turned boys into beasts. Not into men, he turned ’em into beasts.”
How did he do that?
“I don’t know ... you gotta ask Rex,” Suggs said.
And, as if Ryan and Mark Sanchez didn’t have enough problems, there is speculation Reed could be signed by Bill Belichick and the Patriots in free agency.
Ryan was the Ravens’ defensive line coach when Reed was the 2002 first-round draft choice and Suggs was the 2003 first-round draft choice. By 2005, he was the defensive coordinator. Lewis, who joined the Ravens three years prior to Ryan’s arrival, was the 1996 first-round draft choice. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata also learned the ways of Rex, a first-round pick in 2006.
Suggs was asked about Rex’s tattoo.
“Last I checked it was 49ers-Ravens, I didn’t know Jets was nowhere around here,” Suggs said.
Then Suggs answered the tattoo question.
“Who cares? I probably got something on my ass that you all never will see,” Suggs said. “It’s probably inappropriate, but who cares? I think you all blew it way out of proportion. I don’t really think it’s a big deal.
“I think everybody should have a certain amount of privacy even if they’re in the public eye, no matter who they are. Even our president deserves a certain amount of privacy. ... I think all of you need to keep that in mind when you’re all writing stories about us, we’re not just football players, we’re not just coaches, we’re human brings too.”
Reed was at the end of his media session when I asked him about Rex.
“Oh man, I love Rex,” he said. “Keep it likeable and learnable. There’s so much I can say about Rex, man. I love Rex, man.”
What made you love Rex so much?
“That’s my coach, man. Rex my coach.”