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Rex Ryan respectful when speaking of Mike Pettine, Bills

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rex Ryan dialed back his usual bluster.

Rarely afraid to playfully hurl trash talk about is friends, the New York Jets head coach was diplomatic Thursday when discussing new Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

Pettine turned down an in-season offer to extend his contract with the Jets and eventually became Bills head coach Doug Marrone's defensive coordinator.

At the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium, I asked Ryan how his old pal can impact the Bills' defense. Pettine left the Baltimore Ravens with Ryan to join the Jets in 2009.

"I think, No. 1, they got a heck of a start," Ryan said. "They have a lot of outstanding players in the building already. So I think that's the main thing.

"Then, obviously with Mike going over there to put in this style of defense, I think it will be interesting. I think it's going to help them."

And how much more competitive will this make the AFC East?

"I'm not really worried about them as much as I'm worried about us," Ryan said. "To me, my focus is on this football team.

"As much as I care about Mike Pettine, I don't really care about him now, wearing another color jersey. I do care a great deal about Mike, but our focus is on making our team better.

"We're assuming every team is going to get better, but the team that has to get better clearly is the New York Jets."


2013 NFL scouting combine | Doug Marrone | Mike Pettine | Rex Ryan
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |