FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Calvin Pryor is no fan of Rex Ryan’s selection of Ikemefuna Enemkpali as a game captain for the Buffalo Bills.
The New York Jets safety, who played under Ryan last season, said it’s ”kind of disrespectful.”
”At the same time, he has his reasons,” Pryor said after practice Tuesday. ”It doesn’t matter. We still have to play the game on Thursday night.”
Article continues below ...
The Jets and Bills play in prime time, and Ryan’s decision has ramped up the hype for the game. Enemkpali made headlines during training camp with the Jets when he punched quarterback Geno Smith and broke his jaw. The Jets immediately released the linebacker, and Ryan claimed him off waivers the next day.
While Ryan insists he is just sticking to his normal practice of making players captains against their former teams or in their hometowns, Pryor thinks it sends a bad message.
”You have a guy you know who was once here and hit a teammate,” Pryor said. ”To make him a captain going into this game, if you’re going to make him a captain, just make him a captain. You don’t have to announce it on Monday for the whole world to know. But that’s his decision and we have to move forward.”
Pryor also wasn’t surprised Ryan made the call to have Enemkpali be one of the players to go out to midfield at MetLife Stadium for the coin toss.
”That’s just Rex being Rex,” said Pryor, who might not play after missing the last two games with a high ankle sprain. ”Over the years, he’s had his antics, but that’s Rex being Rex.”
Smith shrugged at the whole situation, saying he doesn’t think anything much of the decision, adding he doesn’t take it personally. He also said he has forgiven Enemkpali for the punch, but isn’t sure if the two will speak if they come across each other during warmups.
”That’s like asking me what I’m going to eat for lunch tomorrow,” Smith said. ”I don’t know.”
Pryor heard about Ryan’s decision while watching television and scrolling through Twitter on Tuesday while Ryan was doing his daily news conference. That’s when the safety tweeted: ”The guy does anything for attention.”
Reporters got wind of the tweet and told Ryan about it during his news conference, and the Bills coach responded playfully that Pryor was just mad because Clemson – where Ryan’s son plays – defeated Louisville – Pryor’s alma mater – this season.
Pryor was the Jets’ first-round draft pick last year and struggled as Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman played him mostly at free safety instead of his natural strong safety spot because of personnel issues. During a conference call with Jets reporters, Ryan reiterated he thought the Jets’ 2013 draft class was ”A-plus,” but added of last year’s selections: ”Not so much.”
”It has to do some with coaching as well, so it goes hand in hand,” Pryor said.
When asked if there are things Ryan could’ve done differently in the Jets’ 4-12 season, Pryor didn’t hesitate.
”He could’ve played guys in the right position,” the safety said, referring to himself.
Pryor wasn’t finished, though. He was asked how Ryan is perceived now in the Jets’ locker room.
”Good defensive coach,” Pryor said. ”He’s definitely got a sense of humor. A funny guy. He’s a good person.”
But, how does Ryan fare as a head coach?
”Uhh,” Pryor said with a pause. ”No comment on that.”
NOTES: C Nick Mangold was a full participant at practice after leaving the win over Jacksonville with a neck injury, which was first sustained at New England on Oct. 25. He said he’s now fine and will play against Buffalo. … Pryor, S Dion Bailey (ankle), G Willie Colon (knee), CB Antonio Cromartie (quadriceps) and WR Jeremy Kerley (illness) did not practice. RB Bilal Powell (ankle) and CB Buster Skrine (shoulder, hand) were limited. Bailey will be out, and coach Todd Bowles is not optimistic about the chances of Cromartie or Colon playing. … The Jets have until Wednesday at 4 p.m. to activate CB Dee Milliner from short-term IR after he injured his wrist in training camp. If he’s not activated, he’ll go on season-ending IR.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL