This morning we passed along a report from an NFL.com senior editor saying that new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan isn’t allowed to talk to the media without the approval of Saints Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel.
That report has been refuted by Saints Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel.
Bensel took to Twitter on Sunday and said the report is 100 percent false. Bensel added that Ryan, like all of the Saints’ coaches, will follow the normal rules for media access, which are established by the league office.
Report that Rob Ryan needs to get my OK before speaking to media is 100% false- he like all of our coaches, follow norm league media rules—
Greg Bensel (@GregBensel) February 10, 2013
Frankly, the original report from Andy Fenelon, a senior editor at NFL.com, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As Bensel notes, the NFL has specific rules requiring assistant coaches to be available to the media at certain times. The NFL wouldn’t allow a team to put a clause in an assistant’s contract that violated those rules.
Ryan has been known to stick his foot in his mouth from time to time, such as when he provided some bulletin-board material for the Lions by saying Calvin Johnson would only be the third-best receiver on the Cowboys, a comment Ryan made two days before Johnson scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead the Lions to a comeback victory over Ryan’s Dallas defense. With that history, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Saints coach Sean Payton has urged Ryan to think before he speaks, and to work with Bensel to make sure he stays on message.
But that’s a long way from making it a contractual requirement that Ryan can’t talk without Bensel’s OK. That, Bensel says, is totally false.