Rex Ryan Not Intimidated by Channing Crowder's Tattoos
"I don't know this Channing Crowder," Ryan said, unprompted, in the middle of his opening remarks to the media. "But all I know is that he's all tatted up so I need to be nervous about him. He's right about one thing. I am a first-time head coach. But I've been around the game all my life. I'm no different now than I've ever been. It's just that more people are listening."
Ryan made headline last week with his tough-talk remarks about not planning to kiss Bill Belichick's Super Bowl rings, and the word leaked down to South Florida, where Crowder's defending AFC East champion Dolphins didn't take kindly to them.
"Oh he's going crazy. He's going absolutely nuts," Crowder told South Florida reporters on Friday. "I know it's his first chance to be a head coach, and I know he's excited about life. But I've never played a football game in June in my life. So congratulations to him. He's the OTA Super Bowl winner."
Perhaps Ryan was emboldened by the presence of his father, legendary NFL coach Buddy Ryan, in the audience at Tuesday's news conference. Perhaps he's just the kind of dude who isn't going to back down or stop talking trash. Perhaps it's both. But he made it clear that he's ready to take on Crowder along with Belichick if they both want to come down to Florham Park, N.J., and make anything of it.
"The other thing is, I think he's wrong," Rex Ryan went on. "I think you do win in June. You win with your preparation and all that kind of stuff.
"If I was younger, I would handle him myself. He's a good player. It is fun to ruffle some feathers. I have no problem doing that. Again, I'm confident in my football team. I'm confident in myself. I'm confident in our players, coaches and this entire organization. That's why I say the things that I say."
He also felt compelled to at least clarify last week's comments about Belichick, while making it clear he wouldn't retreat from them.
"My comment about him is that realistically I'm not going to concede anything," Ryan said. "Do I recognize the fact that Belichick is a heck of a coach? Absolutely. My thing is that I'm not going to be intimidated by him or anybody else in this business, period. And I don't care who it is. My football team certainly isn't going to be intimidated either. If there are some issues with that, then so be it."
How did Pops take all of this? Well, somebody apparently asked Buddy Ryan whether he feared his son might rub some people the wrong way.
"Well, you can't worry about that," Buddy Ryan said. "I can't imagine how many I rubbed the wrong way, but I got my point across."
Rex seems to be making sure he does the same thing. If nothing else, he makes for good offseason theater.
I know I'm going Wednesday to see what he has to say ...