BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Rex Ryan pulled off a perfect Rob Ryan.
New York’s barrel-of-laughs coach donned a long blond wig, Browns baseball cap and T-shirt and stuffed a pillow under his shirt to imitate his twin brother’s ample stomach Wednesday, adding fuel to his rivalry with Rob, Cleveland’s defensive coordinator.
The Jets visit the Browns on Sunday, and one of the juicier story lines is the battle between the gregarious Ryan brothers, who followed their dad, Buddy, into coaching.
Rex Ryan opened his news conference in Florham Park, N.J., as himself before leaving for a moment and returning dressed as his brother. Rex then answered a few questions as the other Ryan brother.
What do you think your brother, Rex?
“I think Rex is a great coach and I think he’s a great person,” Rex said. “There’s no question about that. He’s very handsome.”
What happened to your gray hair?
“Well, I’m trying to get a head coaching job, so I’m dying it a little bit, to keep looking young and all that kind of stuff.”
As he wrapped up his uncanny impression, Rex Ryan pulled out the pillow and got in one more swipe at his brother’s girth.
“Truly, he is looking bad. He should’ve had the lap-band,” he said. “He did not have the lap-band surgery when I did. That’s clearly a mistake for him. I’ve always been the big twin. Now I’m just the smart, good-looking one.”
Earlier, Rex joked that he has taken out a bounty on Rob this week. Buddy Ryan was famously accused of taking out bounties on players when he coached.
“There’s a bounty on his head,” Rex said. “But I’m a little concerned about our guys bouncing off of his belly. If they run into (Browns coach Eric) Mangini, that’d be fine. Would I have placed a bounty on Mangini? I would have, but he’s so small right now it would be hard to hit that kind of target. Without question there’s a bounty placed on my brother.
How much is it worth?
“Not much,” he said. “Maybe five bucks. But don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get knocked down two or three times in this game.”
Rex Ryan also took a poke at Mangini’s reluctance — or gamesmanship — in not naming rookie quarterback Colt McCoy his starter for Sunday. Ryan joked that he heard Mangini might be bringing back one of Cleveland’s former QB greats to face his team.
“There’s a good chance Frank Ryan is coming back this week,” he said. “He led the Browns to their last championship in 1964. He’s probably better known for having a Ph.D in mathematics.”
And then there’s Rex Ryan’s dart board. He has a photo of his brother, Mangini and McCoy on a wall that he’s shooting at this week.
“Yes, they are targeted, all three of those guys,” he said.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Rex Ryan, who ironically took over the Jets when Mangini was fired, praised his brother for helping turn the Browns around. Rex Ryan was passed over several times before getting his shot at being a head coach and he believes it’s only a matter of time before there’s another Ryan leading an NFL team.
“He will be a head coach one day and he’ll be a great one,” Rex said. “You’re not going to get a guy who has more dedication or more passion for the game than my brother. He was born to coach. He’s been around the game all his life. He can motivate young men and that’s what this game is all about.
“If you want to see what kind of coach he is, just watch the way they play. Those guys lay it on the line for him. They’ve done it for him when he was with Oakland, when he was with New England and that’s what this game’s all about. If they’re taking the best coaches out there, then he’ll certainly get a job next year.”
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. in Florham Park, N.J. contributed to this report.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.