FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Another day, another flyover at New York Jets practice.
This time, though, it was the team piloting an aircraft with a message.
A day after an unidentified ”frustrated fan” hired a plane with a ”FIRE JOHN IDZIK” banner trailing behind to circle the team’s practice facility for 20 minutes, Jets coach Rex Ryan sent up a toy helicopter at the beginning of practice Thursday with a small banner that read: ”Go Jets.”
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”I don’t know where it came from,” a grinning Ryan said. ”See if you guys buy that one. I know you won’t. OK, I admit it. It came from me.”
The team was practicing indoors because of rain, and Ryan joked that there wouldn’t be any plane-drawn banners hovering over the field.
”I was like, `Maybe there’s a way we can have something inside,”’ Ryan said. ”I asked around and somebody had one of those little helicopter things.”
So, Ryan had a Jets video staffer fly the foot-long helicopter by radio control for a few minutes – in front of media and smiling players – before the staffer landed it and carried it off the field.
”I’ll admit, it never worked exactly the way I was hoping it would because we were going to buzz the tower a little bit,” said a smiling Ryan, referring to the second-floor ledge in the indoor facility where the media watches practice. ”I don’t know where it’s going to land and all that, and I’m like, `Please, there’s some candidates there.’
”I just thought it would be a good little thing.”
Fed up with the team’s 1-8 start, a female fan spent under $1,000 to have the plane tote the banner Wednesday to urge the Jets to fire their general manager – in full view of the media with Idzik, Ryan and owner Woody Johnson all watching practice.
It was just the latest highly publicized measure disgruntled fans have taken. They have flooded sports talk shows and message boards, and even created a website that raised more than $10,000 last week to buy billboard space to further its cause to have the GM fired.
”Obviously, I wanted to make light of it,” Ryan said of using the toy chopper. ”But at the same time, the message, I put `Go Jets’ on it. The message is that we’re in this together and we recognize, hey, we’re 1-8 but we’re in it together at 1-8, and that’s the way it is.”
Idzik, incidentally, wasn’t at the facility on Thursday but rather was in North Carolina on a scouting trip. A New York Post reporter ran into the GM at the airport in Greensboro and asked Idzik what he thought of the aerial display by the fan.
”What do you think I think?” he told the newspaper, clearly irked. He then added, ”We’ll get it straight,” referring to the team’s struggles.
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