Thursday, June 11, 2009

On the NFL: A breath of fresh air

By John McMullen

(The Phanatic Magazine) - Count me as a charter member of the Rex Ryan fan club.

In a league filled with robots masquerading as head coaches, Ryan is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Unlike Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Brad Childress, the guy he replaced in New York, Eric Mangini, and virtually ever other NFL head coach, Ryan doesn't
think it's an indictable offense to show a personality.

June is usually as dead as it gets in the NFL world but Ryan has perked things up with his entertaining shtick with Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder.

In case you missed it, a war of words between Ryan and Crowder kept escalating this week.

Upset that Ryan said the AFC East goes through New England, Crowder "crowned" the Jets OTA (organized team activities) champions.

Ryan, unprompted, struck back at a news conference Tuesday.

"I don't know this Channing Crowder," Ryan said. "All I know is that he's all tatted up, so I guess I ought to be nervous about him. The other thing is I think he's wrong because I do think you win in June. I think you win with your preparation and all that kind of stuff. If I was younger, I'd probably handle him myself."

Crowder wasn't amused.

"'He says he'd take care of me if he was younger?"' Crowder said. "I'd have beat the hell out of that big old joker. Or if he really wants to get retro, my daddy or my uncle could have handled him. Don't get big. Win with preparation? Start watching some tape and learn who your rival is. Come on now."

Ryan could hardly contain his laughter on Wednesday as he poked the bear again.

"'I love it," said Ryan. "`The only thing I can say is, let's see if [Crowder] can top this one: I've walked over tougher guys going to a fight than Channing Crowder."

Ryan then couldn't hold in his laughter anymore: "`What's funny is, the dude is going to kill me."

It's been obvious to everyone but Crowder that Ryan is just having fun, needling the Dolphins linebacker while bonding with the always tough New York media.

Wednesday night, someone must have finally gotten into Crowder's ear and let him in on the joke.

"This is over," Crowder said. "I'm done with this victory. I'm going to save the head coach the embarrassment of arguing with an opposing player to the media. We play twice this season, so we'll see who the better team is then."

I haven't seen dueling promos like this since The Rock and Mick Foley were trading barbs on Monday Night Raw.

Bravo Rex.

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