A quote that appeared in an MMQB.com profile of new Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine has sparked a bit of a war of words involving New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, considered Pettine's NFL mentor, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Browns head coach Mike Pettine has created some controversy with recent comments.
In the profile posted Thursday morning, Pettine hinted to writer Greg Bedard that, as Bedard wrote, "the Patriots may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks." Bedard quoted Pettine as saying, "We know in places like New England, it's only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook."
Both the Jets and Patriots are in minicamp this week, and the subject was broached with both Ryan and Belichick via local reporters.
Said Belichick: "Go talk to Mike Pettine. I don't know."
In New York, Ryan called Pettine's claim "ridiculous" multiple times and said, "Everyone needs to talk to Mike Pettine cause he's got all the answers."
Ryan said he believes both the spat and the claims "got a little blown out of proportion" but said "I don't understand what (Pettine) is trying to gain by it."
Asked if he'd call Pettine about it, Ryan said no.
"I'm going on vacation," he said.
Pettine coached under Ryan with the Jets from 2009-12. As it's written, Pettine told Bedard a story of how, at Wes Welker's 2012 wedding, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said something to Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith, Welker's college roommate, that made Smith believe the Patriots had Jets defensive playbooks.
Said Pettine in the story: "It didn't shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway. He gave one out to (Alabama coach Nick) Saban and I was like, 'Don't you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it's going to end up in New England.'"
The sharing -- or stealing -- of information is extra sensitive when it comes to the Jets and Patriots due to the 2007 Spygate scandal that involved the two teams, Belichick and former Jets and Browns head coach Eric Mangini.
The New York Daily News reached out to Saban about the claims, and through an Alabama spokesman Saban said he never gave a copy of the playbook to the Patriots and never would.
The Browns don't play the Jets or Patriots this season. The result, for now, is that a whole lot more people know Mike Pettine is the coach of the Browns than did Thursday morning.