Florham Park, N.J.– This week’s game against the Browns provides an overload of juicy subplots for fans and the media to obsess over.
There is the return of Braylon Edwards to his former team the Cleveland Browns, after being traded away for next to nothing. Brodney Pool’s return to the Browns. The Jets playing against the coach that preceded Rex Ryan, a coach who a large majority of these Jets players played for and were even brought in by (be sure to check out Jetsinsider’s Wesley Sykes article about the former Jets coach). Then there is the fact that the Jets were only able to move up to the number five pick in the 2009 draft to take Mark Sanchez because the Browns were willing to swap spots as long as the Jets sent some of their fringe players who Mangini liked along in the trade.
At the time everyone thought it was a steal, and it’s actually still viewed as a steal for the Jets, but those players have had an impact in the turn around of the Browns with two of the three players (Abram Elam and Kenyon Coleman) starting for Mangini’s defense.
Did someone say Mangini’s defense? Okay now we are getting to the juiciest of juicy subplots. All the others will be dissected and talked about as well, but this is just going to be too much fun to put off any longer.
As you probably now by now, the defensive coordinator for the Browns is none other than Rex Ryan’s twin brother Rob Ryan. (for a great read on an in-depth inside look at the two brothers check out this great piece by NY Times reporter Greg Bishop). The two are incredibly close and tremendously loyal to each other, they are great friends, but they loving beating each other up even more, nothing like a good sibling rivalry to provide one classic Ryan comedic gold quote after another.
Today Rex began the taunting.
Rex opened up his press conference same as always, except he had a sneaky smirk he was struggling to contain, with the injury report.
“We have two guys that did not practice today, Marquice Cole with the hamstring that he got late in the game. Matt Slauson with his knee, did not practice today. You know, he finished the game, but I guess that knee is bothering him.” Rex said, “I expect him to practice tomorrow, but we’ll see he did not practice today though. Josh Mauga was limited with a hamstring and guys that were full, Calvin Pace foot, Darrelle Revis hamstring. Tony Richardson and Ladainian Tomlinson were out today, it was a coaches decision, you know, but they are not injury related, but I put them on the list or whatever… because they told me to.”
Rex wrapped up his opening statement then began the set up to the fun and hysterics, “One other thing, can you guys sit tight real quick?” Rex said as he quickly vanished from the press room.
As he left, the media room bursted out a humungous explosion of laughter as everyone could only imagine what exactly Rex had in store for us.
After a couple of minutes of suspenseful speculation and laughter inside the media room, Rex re-entered the room. Or was it Rob?
The door swung open and Rex entered with a long blond wig on underneath a Cleveland Browns hat, a pillow stuffed under his Browns t-shirt with a look of glee clearly showing how proud Rex was of himself for pulling this gag. If you want to see a picture for yourself check out this picture captured by WFAN.
“First off, I want to mention that obviously my dad, one time from the league, I guess there was some question about a certain bounty that was put on a player or something and obviously that wasn’t true.” Rex said as he was pretending to be his brother Rob, “But, I’m saying there is a bounty this week and I know I’m going to hear from the league and all that kind of stuff, but I’m placing a bounty on my brother’s head. I do have some concerns, I have some concerns that some of our players might bounce of him to be honest with you. But that notwithstanding there is a bounty. I know I’m going to hear about it from the league, but you know I say the way it is, you know the truth and that is the truth, but ready to go, ready to open it up for questions.”
Luckily for everyone involved this group of beat writers have witnessed these acts of hilarity before and they were more than willing to play along with Rex’s game. Instantly reporters started asking Rex questions as if they were talking to Rob and Rex continued pretending he was Rob with his answers.
‘Rob what do you think of your brother Rex?’ One reporter asked.
“I think Rex is a great coach and I think he’s a great person. There’s no question about that and he’s very handsome.” Rex answered with a huge smile on his face.
‘Rob what happened to your gray hair?’ Asked another reporter.
Rex said, “Well you know, I’m trying to get a head-coaching job so I’ve been dying it a little bit to look young and all that type of stuff…. Curls are part of it, there natural… The goatee, I trimmed it up a little bit because I know it’s going to get some national attention coming off two big victories”
When asked what he thinks about Mark Sanchez the faux Rob said, “Mark Sanchez is great. I think he’s well coached, I think my brother’s done a great job with Mark Sanchez. Alright we good (smiling ear-to-ear)?”
And with that, Rex magically transformed back into himself, slipping out the pillow from under his shirt and taking off the Browns garb, replacing it with his normal Jets attire.
“I had to put the pillow in, because truly he is looking bad. He’s about two-ninety-… he should of had the lap band, he did not have the lap band surgery when I did so, that’s clearly a mistake for him.” Rex said, “Because I’ve always been the big twin, now I’m just the smart good-looking twin and he’s now the big twin. Alright anybody got anything? Where do we go from here?”
Clearly the media needed a couple of minutes to regroup and collect their thoughts after the performance Rex just put on and Rex realized this and decided to continue doing our job for us.
“Who else you want me to get after? Mangini? Mangini is so small right now, there would have been a bounty placed on him, but i don’t think anyone can hit him he’s so small.” Rex said, “Can’t find this little guy out there, he’s lost more (weight) than I have and I’ve had surgery. I’ve only lost 75, I don’t know what Mangini’s lost, but I’m thinking about bringing some sand with me and throwing it at him.”
Of course not all the trash talking is being aired out through the media, Rex made sure to make it clear they are chirping loudly and taunting each other every chance they get.
“Oh yeah, there’s plenty of that there’s no question about it. But you know what’s funny, I mean we’re letting it go at each other, where ripping each other.” Rex said, “Everybody, you know all their coaches. They put us on speaker and you know I’ve taken shots at Brian Cox and Henderson and Flus, (Matt Eberflus all D coaches for the Browns) but I think after today we’ll get back to business, you know, for the most part and I think it’s going to be a great game, I really do.”
Just how similar are the identical twins, besides the hair and weight difference?
“I think similar, I think we’re probably very similar.” Rex said.
Where does their dad fit in? Is he going to have a hard time choosing who to root for?
“Nah, he’s with the Jets all the way 100 percent.” Rex joked.
The two brothers, as has been just established are eerily similar, even for twins. Could it be that Rob will follow in Rex’s footprints and earn himself a head coaching job and does Rex think he’s own success could help rob achieve that goal?
“Yes. I mean I do buy that. Why wouldn’t it. It should, you know we’re very similar like people and the fact that Woody Johnson took the chance on me. Rex said, “That’s all he needs is a guy that has the courage to, you know, maybe hire, I got it how bout just a football coach and that’s who he is. He might not, you know, (fit) the corporate imagine and all that kind of jazz, he probably doesn’t fit that, but I know one thing he’s a great coach.”
And yes, in case you were wondering Rex has tried to get his brother on his coaching staff before.
“Oh, we put in for him every year. We don’t even have a job, but we put in for him every year… We put in for him and they (Cleveland) denied it, every year we put in for him. No he was with Cleveland and they were like ‘Come on,’ we’re not going to do that, he’s not going to your place, but we make them go through the paperwork anyway.”
As much fun as the Ryan bothers have making fun of each other and being hyper-competitive, it’s clear there is a special bond between these two that allows them to act the way they do and both brothers take as much pride in their brother’s accomplishments as their own.
But Rex couldn’t leave the press conference with that being the lasting impression he had to get one last shot in at his brother. When asked to explain the differences between the two Ryan seized an opportunity to close with another dig at his brother.
“The types of wives. He’s got a beautiful wife, so do I. Obviously anybody that’s seen her knows that, but their different. I married an Oklahoma girl, he married a California girl, so that’s probably a difference. She runs his house, that’s the biggest difference.” Rex said emphatically, before mumbling a quick follow-up to keep him out of trouble with his own wife, “Not like I don’t but….”
Two brothers, one passion and an unbreakable bond.
All of that will be brushed to the side on Sunday and these two brothers will be looking to flat out embarrass the other one for bragging rights and if somehow the game ends in a tie, look for the Ryan brothers to settle it with a bare-knuckle boxing match on the 50-yard-line to determine the winner.