Jets’ Rex Ryan shows he has write stuff as author
Rex Ryan has been called lots of things – some nice, and others
not-so-much – during his two years as coach of the New York
Here’s one more he might be able to soon add to the list:
The brash, confident and colorful coach’s first book, ”Play
Like You Mean It,” hits stores Tuesday and he couldn’t be more
excited about giving fans a peek at what being Rex Ryan is all
”I’m a fan of football, I love the sport, and I’ve said a
million times that I’m just an average person given an incredible
opportunity,” he said Monday. ”I wanted to take that and give
kind of like an insider’s look at what it was like for the first
two years of getting a job you dreamed about all your life.”
Ryan began a media tour Monday to promote the 280-page book
published by Doubleday, including a guest spot on the ”Late Show
With David Letterman.”
”I’m not nervous,” he said. ”I don’t have to sing.”
He has several book signings and other television and radio
appearances scheduled for later in the week.
”People are going to definitely sense the passion I have for
the game, and they’re going to see the fun times and I think they
may be surprised how I got here and about my background, what it
was like growing up Buddy Ryan’s son, but also the things I’ve had
to overcome,” Ryan said.
The book, which got the full support of Jets owner Woody
Johnson, is in a first-person, conversational style and it’s all
typical Rex: no-holds-barred and thoroughly entertaining. And
parents, don’t worry. There aren’t too many R-rated words like the
ones Ryan got so much flak over during the HBO’s ”Hard Knocks”
series last summer. He also gained a new appreciation for what it
takes to write a book.
”I thought maybe it would be a few days, but it was a lot more
than that,” he said, laughing. ”I like the end product. I think
it’s really good and I’m certainly proud of it.”
Not bad for a guy who has dealt with dyslexia all his life,
another subject his discusses in depth.
”Never in my wildest dreams,” he said, ”did I think I’d be
the author of a book.”
Ryan dedicated the book to his father, who has recently been
ill, and gave Buddy Ryan the very first copy.
”He can’t see too well, so we were trying to read it to him,”
he said. ”It’s something I’m proud of. We never threw something
together to just go out and sell it or something. I wanted it to be
something that a fan will be happy they purchased.”
Ryan started thinking about writing a book after his first
season as the Jets coach and Don Yaeger, who co-authored it, began
compiling interviews and anecdotes a year ago. A hectic and
controversy-filled second season just added to what is sure to be a
page-turner, especially for Jets fans.
”I just hope people look at the book for what it is,” Ryan
said. ”It’s really about the passion, about coaching this game and
I recognize that this is a great game. It’s going to be definite
reading for head coaching candidates and guys who go through this
process. As a football fan, the interest is going to be there
about, ‘Wow, these are things that I maybe never actually realized
you have to go through.”’
Ryan has made his mark by saying whatever’s on his mind, and
never apologizing for always being himself. He did acknowledge to
The Associated Press that there are two words in the book he would
have liked to change if he could. One, he said, was using the word
”phony” when he discussed recently released former first-round
pick Vernon Gholston.
”What I meant by the ‘phony’ thing was that his (NFL combine)
numbers were phony,” Ryan said. ”His numbers were better than
maybe anybody in the history of football, and I was like, ‘That’s
not how he plays. Nobody plays like that.’ But, Vernon got better,
and he was a tremendous person.”
In a chapter dedicated to last season, he discusses several
things that made news on and off the field, such as when Ines
Sainz, a Mexican television reporter, felt uncomfortable in the
Jets’ locker room and it spurred an investigation by the NFL.
”I mentioned that was a ‘distraction,’ and that was probably a
word I would change,” Ryan said. ”I’m not necessarily sure what I
would change it to, but I have a lot of respect for that young
lady. She has never once said that the Jets did something that
wasn’t appropriate. I think the word, ‘distraction’ wasn’t the
right word. It was more of a ‘challenge’ at that point.”
One touchy subject Ryan didn’t really address in the book was
the foot-fetish reports involving him and his wife.
”Initially, I said it was a personal matter, and that hasn’t
changed,” he said.
Ryan also clarified – as the book states – that he chose not to
re-sign linebacker Eric Barton and tight end Chris Baker when he
took over because of information he got from people in the
organization that they weren’t team players, not from his own
observations. He also reiterated that he thought safety Kerry
Rhodes, now with Arizona, was talented but didn’t make football a
”I said he was a flashy, Hollywood-type because that’s Kerry,
and I have no problem with that,” he said. ”All I want them to do
is give me everything you’ve got. … At the end of the day, I
never thought he was giving everything he had to us.”
Ryan declared that the Jets will be the best team in New York
for the next 10 years, and that drew the ire of Giants fans, some
players and even media relations director Pat Hanlon, who took some
playful shots at him on Twitter.
”I think I could take him,” Ryan said with a big laugh. ”I am
afraid that he’d throw his Blackberry at me, so I’ve got to watch
out for that.”
So, what are the plans for a sequel, Rex?
”We win the Super Bowl,” he said, grinning.