When it’s Jets vs. Browns, it’s Ryan vs. Ryan
CLEVELAND (AP) - Born five minutes apart, Rex and Rob Ryan are inseparable. They’ve spent a lifetime together, playing, laughing, loving and fighting _ sometimes with each other and often against anyone foolish enough to take them on.
They never lost.
“I don’t think there is any pair of brothers closer than we are,” Rob Ryan said. “We had our own language when we were kids growing up. If you fought one of us you had to be real tough because you had to fight both of us. We found a way to win.”
The brothers Ryan, raised by their famous father Buddy to be honest, straightforward and to rush the heck out of the quarterback, will renew their sibling rivalry Sunday when Rex leads his New York Jets into Cleveland to take on a Browns defense coached by Rob.
The days leading to the game will be filled with meetings, practices, and, of course, some serious trash talking over the phone.
“It’s going to be brutal,” Rex Ryan said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about each other’s children, wives, whatever.”
On Tuesday, Rob Ryan saw a photograph of himself, Browns coach Eric Mangini and rookie quarterback Colt McCoy that had blow darts sticking out of their images.
“He drew first blood,” Rob said of his twin. “We are going to have some retaliatory reactions coming up later in the week.”
But beyond the practical jokes and typical brother vs. brother shenanigans, the Ryan boys have an unbreakable bond. They talk daily, share a sweet tooth and sufficient stomachs, and are prone to drop an expletive or two into almost any conversation.
Rex Ryan was criticized for his profanity during HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series this summer. While his mother threatened to wash his mouth with soap, his brother wasn’t offended.
“Never even noticed the language but then I heard all the criticism,” Rob cracked. “I’m just glad they weren’t here in Cleveland.”
Despite their dad’s wishes that they pursue another profession, the Ryans followed him into coaching. When Buddy Ryan, whose “46” scheme changed the way defense is played in the NFL, coached in Philadelphia, he urged his sons to accept jobs with a food service business at the airport.
Buddy Ryan learned the hard way that the grueling hours and constant travel would take a toll on his personal life. He and his wife, Doris, split when the boys were young. He wanted his sons to follow a different path.
“They didn’t listen,” Buddy Ryan said over the phone from his horse farm in Kentucky.
The Ryan brothers knew their calling.