FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Rex Ryan claimed he didn’t know much about Channing Crowder until recently. Now, the New York Jets coach can’t stop talking about the Miami Dolphins linebacker.
For the second straight day at minicamp, Ryan led off his news conference by mentioning Crowder and playfully firing back at some comments he made in a war of words that has become downright humorous.
For now, anyway.
“First off, Channing Crowder had a rebuttal,” Ryan said Wednesday, causing everyone in the press room to crack up. “I love it. The only thing I can say is, and let’s see if he can top this one, I’ve walked over tougher guys going to a fight than Channing Crowder.
He laughed and added, “The dude’s going to kill me.”
It all started last week when Crowder sounded off on Ryan’s bold talk about being confident in his team during organized team activities. Crowder sarcastically said Ryan must be excited because he’s a first time head coach and that he’s “the OTA Super Bowl winner.”
Ryan fired back Tuesday: “I don’t know this Channing Crowder. All I know is that he’s all tatted up, so I guess I ought to be nervous about him.” He also said Crowder was wrong about not winning anything in June because preparation wins championships, and if he were younger, “I’d probably handle him myself.”
In an interview with the Miami Herald on Tuesday night, Crowder responded to the coach’s brash comments.
“Oh, Lord have mercy. What’s wrong with him?” Crowder told the newspaper. “Now he’s talking about preparation? We play them twice this year. If he wants to be prepared, shouldn’t he know the starting middle linebackers of his division rival?”
He also seemed amused by Ryan’s challenge that he’d beat him down if not for the age gap — Ryan is 46, while Crowder is 25.
“I’d have beat the hell out of that big, old joker,” Crowder told the Herald. “Or if he really wants to get retro, my daddy or my uncle could have handled him. Don’t get big. Win with preparation? Start watching some tape and learn who your rival is. Come on now.”
Ryan said he was getting tattoos, too, and that a fight with Crowder would be a mismatch — for the Dolphins linebacker — because, “You can’t hit what you can’t see.”
Yep, the games between the AFC East foes in Weeks 5 and 8 should be more interesting than usual, not that the Jets-Dolphins rivalry needed any more juice.
“It is fun to get with it and spar and all that kind of stuff with somebody else,” Ryan said with a big smile.
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