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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Have you dropped some hard-earned cash on a Mark Sanchez jersey? Not sure what to do with it now?
Hey, at least you’re not Jets coach Rex Ryan.
He has one tattooed on his arm — if it’s the real deal.
The New York Daily News published a front-page photo on Friday of Ryan sunbathing while on vacation in the Bahamas. On his right arm: a tattoo of a woman, resembling his wife Michelle, wearing a green jersey with Sanchez’s No. 6 — and nothing else.
And wait — is she Tebowing?
“Ryan cursed out a News reporter who approached the controversial coach,” the paper reported.
Ryan’s tattoo — is it permanent or temporary? — was the talk of the town Friday morning.
“In more than 30 years covering the NFL, I can say with certainty that I know of no other coach who honored his quarterback with a tattoo of his wife dressed in the player’s jersey,” wrote Daily News columnist Gary Myers.
The great tattoo debate made its way to WFAN radio Friday morning. Co-host Craig Carton said Ryan was “obviously proud” of the ink.
“He’s out there not wearing a shirt, and everyone can see the tattoo,” Carton said. “And whether it’s the Daily News or some New Yorker who’s down there for three days with his family (and) sees Rex Ryan, you’re all gonna notice it. It’s not a tiny tattoo!”
One caller to the “Boomer & Carton” show said the image “raises so many questions, it’s unbelievable.”
Ryan, a loyal Sanchez supporter, finally benched his starting quarterback for good after Week 15.
After initially expressing disbelief, NFL analyst and Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe wondered whether the tattoo was indeed real.
“I think he might be having fun at everybody’s expense,” Sharpe told Carton and WFAN co-host Boomer Esiason. “You know, I’ve known Rex a long time. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
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Darren Meenan of local apparel brand The 7 Line, no stranger to tattoos, tweeted that “the Rex tat is most likely fake but I think its hilarious. All vacation spots have paint on stands.”
Soon-to-be free agent defensive end Mike DeVito couldn’t say if the tattoo was permanent. DeVito told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that he had never seen or heard whispers of it in the Jets locker room.
“I can honestly say as a Christian man, I do not know the answer to that question,” DeVito responded when asked to verify Ryan’s body art. “Honestly, I’ve never heard anybody say anything about it and I’ve never seen it. That’s truthful, that’s news to me.”
Then there’s this: a person close to Ryan told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that the coach has “had it for years.”
Ryan hasn’t spoken publicly since the Jets fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum on Monday — and he’s taken plenty of heat for his silence. He’s scheduled to meet the media on Tuesday with owner Woody Johnson after this week’s beach getaway.
“I understand why the Daily News is doing what they’re doing, because Rex hasn’t spoken to the media, and the media gets very upset with that,” said Esiason. “And I understand all that. But the guy’s on vacation with his wife, man.”
Tweeted WFAN Fantasy Phenom III winner Joe Giglio: “If Mrs. Ryan was wearing any other number in that tattoo, it would be weird, but not this weird.”
Weird would be the word. Just ask someone who covers the team every single day.
“This beat is just too damn weird,” tweeted Newsday reporter Kimberley Martin.
Your thoughts on Rex’s curious tattoo? Is it real or fake? Sound off in the comments below!