Rex Ryan is known for being a fun-loving guy who tries to keep things loose while working as an NFL analyst for ESPN, but we saw a different side of the former coach on Sunday.
ESPN aired a special about the work Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn recently did helping to build a school for children in Tanzania, and Ryan was overcome with emotion while discussing how proud he is of Lynn. Lynn was an assistant coach under Ryan when Ryan was the head coach of both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
Rex Ryan got emotional talking about how proud he is of his friend and former assistant coach, Anthony Lynn. pic.twitter.com/MtJv4dxyrN
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 1, 2019
Ryan was unable to fight back tears, which led to “Sunday NFL Countdown” host Samantha Ponder also getting choked up.
That is certainly a different Rex from the one we recently saw showing off the ridiculous tattoo of his wife, but that just shows you how much his relationship with Lynn means to him.
Few people were more critical of Baker Mayfield early in the season than Rex Ryan, but the former coach is officially starting to come around. In fact, he now thinks the Browns are going to reach the playoffs for the first time in over 16 years.
The Browns improved to 5-6 with a win over the Dolphins on Sunday, and Ryan said on ESPN’s “Get Up” Monday morning that they are going to reach the postseason because of their weak schedule over the final five weeks. He entertained his colleagues by deadpanning that Mayfield is “underrated.”
"Look … [Baker Mayfield] is underrated as hell."
If you know, you know pic.twitter.com/9QAEAYrI3d
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) November 25, 2019
“Who’s gonna beat ’em?” Ryan asked. “Pittsburgh, with Duck Hodges or some goose playing quarterback? … I’ve never seen an easier schedule.”
Ryan was serious with his prediction that the Browns will make the playoffs, but he was being sarcastic when he called Mayfield underrated. While Mayfield has played well lately, this is the same Rex who said earlier in the year that the former first overall pick is “overrated as hell,” so he was playing off of that. That said, Mayfield has thrown just one interception in his past four games and has played much better as of late.
Mayfield responded with a great zinger the first time Ryan called him overrated, so he probably doesn’t care that Rex is jumping on the bandwagon now. He’s focused on trying to get to at least 9-7, and the Browns face the Steelers, Cardinals, Ravens and Bengals twice to close out the year. It’s not out of the question that they will only lose one of those games.
Rex Ryan has an extremely awkward tattoo on his arm that many of you have probably forgotten about or wisely decided to black out, but the former coach was happy to remind us all of it on Sunday.
ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” aired a segment on Dak Prescott’s tattoos, which led to a discussion about Ryan’s body art. That’s when Rex proudly rolled up his right sleeve to reveal the promiscuous tattoo that once depicted his wife in a New York Jets jersey but has since been covered with blue ink — kind of.
— Doop (@MileHiLiving) November 24, 2019
Ryan, who is no stranger to self-deprecation, mocked the tattoo for not really being Buffalo Bills blue. At least he has a sense of humor about it.
Rex has a few different tattoos, and the one of his wife may not be as wild as the one on his leg. We wouldn’t recommend he take any more trips to the tattoo parlor.
Rex Ryan provides some quality commentary during ESPN’s NFL pregame show every Sunday, and the former head coach is not afraid to brag about his accomplishments despite the fact that he was unable to find work after being fired by the Buffalo Bills a few years ago. He also has no problem with self-deprecating humor, and we saw another example of that on Sunday.
Ryan and Ponder were engaged in a friendly debate about how Colt McCoy might fare against the Patriots, and Rex sarcastically noted how he beat New England a few times during his career. Ponder then chucked and agreed by saying “and you’re sitting here with us, I get it.”
Rex Ryan: "Colt McCoy, is he the answer? No. He's never been the answer"
"He's beat the Patriots though.."
Rex Ryan: "Yeah, I beat the Patriots a few times too… I certainly wasn't the answer"
— #BusinessAintBoomin (@ftbeard_17) October 6, 2019
Ryan was 61-66 across stints with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. He was 5-12 against the Patriots (including a playoff win), which obviously isn’t a good record. Getting the best of Bill Belichick is something to be proud of, but five wins in 17 chances is nothing to pat yourself on the back about.
One of the reasons Ryan is good at his current job is that he’s not afraid to ruffle feathers, which we’ve seen recently with the way him and Baker Mayfield have gone back and forth. He’s also not afraid to let people have fun at his expense.
Rex Ryan is trying to attach himself to Baker Mayfield as a troll, and so far it’s working.
In an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” during the week, Ryan called Mayfield “overrated as hell.”
The Cleveland Browns quarterback responded a few days later with a perfect zinger.
Ryan, who served as a defensive coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2008, kept things going on Sunday and said Mayfield was lucky Rex is no longer the Ravens’ defensive coordinator.
"Baker Mayfield better be happy I'm not in the black and purple today … 'cause he'd be in trouble."
–Rex Ryan responds to Baker Mayfield's comments pic.twitter.com/FIUKVicqer
— ESPN (@espn) September 29, 2019
Flash forward and Mayfield and the Browns had their best game of the season in a 40-25 win at Baltimore. Mayfield was asked after the game whether he would give credit to Ryan for firing him and the team up.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield on whether Rex Ryan’s comments fueled him this week: “Absolutely not. Rex Ryan does not get any credit for this week’s win. No.”
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) September 29, 2019
Of course Mayfield doesn’t want to give Ryan credit. Mayfield has been fired up all season, and Rex Ryan has nothing to do with the team getting things right. But simply by being mentioned in a press conference, Ryan is victorious because he is now part of the conversation surrounding Mayfield and the Browns.
It’s fair to say that Baker Mayfield isn’t taking criticism from Rex Ryan lying down.
The Cleveland Browns’ quarterback was dismissive after Ryan dubbed him “overrated as hell,” stating that his opinion doesn’t matter because he’s not with the Cleveland Browns. He took a rather clear shot at the ex-NFL coach as well, saying there was “a reason” Ryan didn’t have a job right now.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield on Rex Ryan's criticism: "In the wise words of Freddie Kitchens, if you don't wear orange and brown, you don't matter. And Rex Ryan doesn't have any colors right now for a reason."
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 25, 2019
Ryan last coached in 2016 and hasn’t posted a record above .500 as a head coach since 2010, which is also the last time he led a team to the playoffs. You better believe Mayfield knows that, too. He’s not at all afraid to take on members of the media he feels are being unfair, and while he wasn’t as harsh to Ryan as he has been on another talking head, he wasn’t kind, either.
Don’t count Rex Ryan as a big Baker Mayfield fan.
The former NFL coach blasted Mayfield on Monday, dubbing him “overrated as hell” on ESPN’s Get Up.
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) September 23, 2019
Ryan branded Mayfield a “one-read guy” and questioned what he’s even doing right at this stage in his career. It’s a pretty far cry from a quarterback who was tipped by some as an MVP candidate before the season started.
Mayfield has started 2019 with three touchdowns and five interceptions in his first three games. His defenders will likely point out that Cleveland’s offensive line has done him zero favors so far, and he’s a one-read and improvise guy because if he doesn’t start moving after about two seconds, he’s directly in the line of fire from opposing pass-rushers.
If there’s one thing we know about Mayfield, it’s that he’d use a quote like this as motivation. He certainly doesn’t mind being doubted.