Ryan reveals meaning behind new tattoo

August 2, 2011

All those intricate shapes and swirls tattooed on Rex Ryan's right leg have a pretty simple meaning.

And it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or the New England Patriots.

''Believe in yourself,'' the New York Jets coach revealed on the team's Facebook page Tuesday. ''Which I've got no problem doing.''

The tribal-style ink, which Ryan got while on vacation in Hawaii last month, caused quite the buzz Monday when the Jets reported for training camp. Pictures of the tattoo quickly circulated around the internet, with people wondering what in the world it was exactly.

Even the team challenged fans on its Facebook page Monday to guess what it was all about.

''You know what's funny? I hear the mid-life crisis and all that type of stuff. It's mid-life, all right,'' the 48-year-old Ryan said Tuesday during his daily news conference before turning to media relations director Bruce Speight.

''What did we talk about, Bruce?'' Ryan asked.

''It's mid-life hieroglyphics,'' Speight responded.

''Yeah,'' Ryan said with a big smile. ''That's why we have Bruce say it because there's no telling what would come out if I said it.''

The tattoo is black and curls up from the top of his right ankle to just below his knee.

''You see,'' Ryan said, pointing down to his leg, ''you've got the mountains, you've got the waves and the shark tooth down there. You've got it all working.''

Ryan said it had gotten positive reviews from his players, who have told him ''that's cool.''

''And I'm like, yeah, it is,'' he said, grinning.

So, how long did it take to put that work of art on your leg, Rex?

''After I got through crying?'' he asked with a laugh. ''No, a tattoo is nothing. It's fun, so I did it. But, it was probably about an hour and a half.''