- Last Updated: 5:00 PM, September 23, 2010
- Posted: 3:57 AM, September 23, 2010
Rex Ryan is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.
That’s the message the Jets coach delivered yesterday in the wake of the Braylon Edwards DWI arrest.
After meeting with Edwards on Tuesday night, Ryan issued an impassioned speech to the entire team that enough is enough and the embarrassment to the organization must stop.
In doing so, Ryan even called himself out, referring to his middle finger salute to Miami fans at an MMA event last winter that got him a $50,000 fine.
What’s most exasperating to Ryan is that this latest off-the-field incident has taken focus away from the Jets’ AFC East showdown for first place Sunday night against the Dolphins.
During Ryan’s 20-minute press conference, there was not a single question about the game.
Ryan instead was faced with answering questions about Edwards’ decision to drive drunk when the team has a free-ride-home program in place.
He, too, was peppered with questions about the minimal punishment the organization delivered to Edwards — taking his starting spot away in Sunday’s game rather than meting out a more severe penalty.
“I talked with Braylon last night, talked with several people, I talked with the team this morning. What I mentioned to the team was that, quite honestly, I’m basically tired of dealing with some of these issues. I’m tired of the embarrassment to our owner and this organization, and let’s just end it, let’s stop it,” Ryan said. “Whatever it is, however severe, minor, whatever, we don’t need to be that team.”
Ryan said he got word of the Edwards arrest when GM Mike Tannenbaum called him early Tuesday morning.
“To say the least, I was a little upset with it,” Ryan said.
That’s what prompted his talk to the team yesterday.
“He was stern, there was no question about it,” Jets right tackle Damien Woody said. “But he was to the point. He made his point and then he moved on to Miami. His whole thing was, ‘Enough with all the BS, let’s go out here and do our jobs and not create the impression that we’re running a crazy house around here. There’s a perception out there that we’re an undisciplined team, which is not the case.’
“He was like, ‘Look, [owner Woody] Johnson doesn’t deserve this, and let’s stop putting ourselves in a bind. Let’s focus on something really important — the Dolphins and a chance to fight for first place in our division.’ ”
Ryan was cryptic about several things, including the reason why the punishment handed down to Edwards was so soft.
“I just thought when [the news] came out that was my first reaction to it, that we would not start Braylon,” Ryan said. “That’s what we’re going with. I’m not going to tell you that Braylon is going to miss X-amount of the game or whatever it is, because I’m not ready to do that right now. When it’s the right time, I’ll make that decision. I’ll know before we play the game.”
Curiously, Ryan said that the team didn’t avoid completely benching or suspending Edwards because it was worried that the NFL Players Association would file a grievance. Edwards said he would not have signed on to file a grievance, that he was prepared to take whatever disciplinary action the Jets doled out.
By rule of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team cannot suspend or bench a player for a violating the league’s substance abuse policy until the legal process is complete and the league makes a judgment.
Ryan disputed the notion that Edwards’ punishment is light.
“That’s a punishment,” Ryan said of the decision to bench Edwards to start Sunday’s game. “For any competitor, that’s a bigger punishment than you think. We’ll see what as we go on.”