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Whatever happens once the games count, the Jets will start the season with maybe the most interesting collection of personalities since the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, when Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, Leon Lett and Nate Newton were making headlines.

“I love Rex Ryan,” said Newton, a former six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman. “Deion Sanders talks highly of Rex Ryan. I love everything that they’re about, man, but one thing you have to do first is win something.”

Those Cowboys were dominant and disliked, but they also did plenty of winning _ taking home three Super Bowl trophies in four years.

“I truly don’t want to be disrespectful _ all these are good people, I’ve researched them _ and they’re playing to the cameras, and that’s fine,” Newton said. “But every team that’s been compared to our ‘92 Cowboys and our ‘93 Cowboys, they haven’t won anything. So if they come out this year and do what they say they’re going to do on 'Hard Knocks,' and be who they say they’re going to be, great. … But right now, they’re just another team trying to come up.”

Just a team who’ll tell you they don’t like you, then give you an extra shove for emphasis.

“They’ve just got that little killer instinct in them,” Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley said, “and everybody’s hungry around there.”

It all starts with Ryan. He’s the central character _ a husky, fun-loving guy and the ultimate everyman, a dude who looks and acts more like someone in your fantasy football league than the man in charge of team that finished a win away from the Super Bowl a year ago.

“The guy’s made for TV,” Richardson said. “But he’s the same with or without cameras.”

Whether it’s telling the world his guys are going to meet the president after winning the Super Bowl, sparring with opposing coaches and players, or talking about his offseason lap-band surgery, what you see is what you get with Ryan.

“My parents, they told me they love 'Hard Knocks,'” Richardson said. “Even my buddies have told me, ‘Man, Rex seems like a guy you’d just love to sit down and have a beer with.’ I think now people kind of feel like, if you had the top five people in the world you’d want to have a chance to sit down and talk to, Rex is in that category.”

While Ryan’s personality is a hit, his penchant for cursing every time he opens his mouth isn’t.

He was criticized by some fans, media, former Colts coach Tony Dungy _ even his mom _ for excessive Rex-pletives in the premiere episode two weeks ago.

“They said he dropped, like, eight? That was a great day,” wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said with a big laugh. “I was sitting in there like, ‘Man, he’s holding back right now.’ Some might say he doesn’t need all of that to get his players motivated, but this is his team. You don’t tell someone how to run their team. He’s going to run it the way he’s going to run it, and I respect that.”

Ryan doesn’t censor his players, either.

The guys in green and white fill reporters’ notebooks with their thoughts on everything from the AFC East to defensive tackle Kris Jenkins’ weight-loss contest with Ryan and right tackle Damien Woody (Jenkins won).

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