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Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Ryan likes that Ryan

It's been quite some time since I last posted. I know, you've missed me. Since my last post, I've a) lost a crown while chewing on a piece of candy, b) had a staph infection that had me in the ER at 2am Christmas Eve and kept me from walking for two weeks, and c) spent over a week in Key West, where the temperatures for that stretch were the coldest they've been in over 80 years. But hey, I'm feeling much better now.

One thing that helped was the Jets win over San Diego. I'm not a Jets fan, mind you. But I did become a fan of head coach Rex Ryan this past summer. You see, the New Yorkers invaded Central New York this past summer to train in Cortland, about 30 minutes south of Syracuse. At first, I was ticked, because summertime is a chance to relax a bit when you work in local TV (I was still a reporter in Syracuse at this point). For ten months, you're constantly on the go from one high school game to another....then another...then another. Throw in a bunch of local college action, and it's a long day at the office. Yes, working in sports is great, but it's still work! Summer is when you can coast a bit and recharge. The Jets moving their camp to our neck of the woods meant our chance to recharge would be cut by several weeks.

Rex Ryan immediately made me all right with the change of schedule. He's not the typical NFL coach. He's personable; actually seems happy to talk with you, will answer a question with a legitimate response, and makes you feel at ease. Not easy to do when you have an imposing frame such as his. But his constant jokes about sed-frame made you appreciate his battle. Oh, and he laughs. Not the manufactured kind of laugh. The kind that human beings have. This....was a guy who loved what he was doing.

Ryan was overly-honest at times talking about his new team and staff. You knew he liked the team, but didn't seem like he was preparing to be playing the third week of January. But there was a gleam in his eye you could see at his daily press conferences...almost like he knew something we didn't. I'd say that was certainly an understatement. His players would run through a wall for this guy, and he'd do the same for them.

When the Jets left Cortland, I had a new appreciation for Rex Ryan. I told a co-worker I wasn't a Jets fan, but I would be a Rex Ryan fan. I'm legitimately happy for the man. The Jets may be surprising the entire country, but the performance of their coach is something I could see coming from 30 miles away.

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