With Memorial Day weekend representing the news flow low point in the locked out NFL offseason, Jets coach Rex Ryan’s book has given us all a small gift, with the help of Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe.
Bedard points out, at page 174 of Play Like You Mean It, Ryan brags about the con he pulled on receiver Santonio Holmes after Holmes was traded to the Jets in April 2010. Specifically, Ryan asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to meet with the two men — and to rip Ryan in front of Holmes before ripping Holmes in front of Ryan. The coach’s goal was “to bring Holmes closer to me,” by allowing the two men to commiserate after enduring a mutual ass-chewing from the Commish.
Bedard calls Goodell’s decision to comply with Ryan’s request “problematic.” Bedard explains that he tried to interview Goodell about the situation during the recent ownership meetings in Indianapolis, a request which ultimately was granted in the form of a “71-second walk and talk.” Though Goodell defended his involvement as something that “does help a player and does help a coach,” Bedard continues to believe that the gesture by the man who once worked for the Jets gave the Jets a competitive advantage.
“I don’t look at it that way,’’ Goodell told Bedard. “I look at is as I was asked to try to help a young man who I like very much, and we’re going to continue to try to do whatever we can to make sure that he’s in the best position to continue his career and do the right things on and off the field.’’
Goodell denied that Holmes was misled by the manner in which the meeting was engineered.
“That’s not true,’’ Goodell said. “Rex had had an issue publicly, and so did Santonio. And he asked me to make sure I addressed both of them, which I did. That’s what the personal conduct policy is about. It applies to everybody.’’
Apart from the question of whether Goodell crossed a line that, in all fairness, is vague and fuzzy at best, Ryan’s candor could now hurt his relationship with Holmes, if Holmes now reflects on that meeting and concludes that he had been duped by his coach.