This classic work of art could affect Ryan’s credibility with his players. Will they tease him about it? Will they be jealous of Sanchez? Will they think of Sanchez as the teacher’s pet? Couldn’t Ryan have expressed his ever-lasting love for the Jets with just a generic green jersey without a number? What was he thinking?
Rex Ryan’s loyalty to Mark Sanchez may not be set in stone, but it is etched in ink.
From the category of “you just can’t make this stuff up,” Ryan will carry Sanchez around with him for the rest of his life. It will be too painful to get rid of him, as much as that may pain Jets fans.
The embattled Jets coach was photographed by the Daily News on Thursday at The Atlantis in the Bahamas lounging by the pool reading a book.
So far, so good.
He was shirtless, which is what people do when it’s 82 degrees.
The photo revealed an interesting tattoo on Ryan’s right arm. Just below a shamrock surrounded by the names of his sons Payton and Seth and his wife Michelle, is a drawing of a blonde-haired lady bearing a striking resemblance to Michelle wearing Sanchez’s No. 6 green jersey and nothing else.
Obviously, there was another reason Ryan was reluctant to play Tim Tebow this season aside from Tebow’s inability to throw a forward pass. Who wants to go through having the No. 6 replaced by No. 15? Maybe if Tebow played better, Ryan would have displayed him on his left arm.
Even Ryan knows better than to get a Greg McElroy tattoo.
Okay, make all the jokes you want, but the issue now is how this plays out in the Jets locker room. How does Sanchez feel about his coach having a tattoo with his jersey being worn by the coach’s wife, who is wearing nothing else, permanently drawn on his coach’s arm?
This classic work of art could affect Ryan’s credibility with his players. Will they tease him about it? Will they be jealous of Sanchez? Will they think of Sanchez as the teacher’s pet? Couldn’t Ryan have expressed his ever-lasting love for the Jets with just a generic green jersey without a number?
What was he thinking?
Perhaps Mark Sanchez and his teammates already know about the tat.
Maybe there has been a time Ryan has walked through the locker room wearing just a towel after a game, but the coaches usually shower and change in their own locker room following practices and games. Ryan doesn’t wear sleeveless shirts to practice, so the ever-watchful media have never been privy to this ode to Sanchez.
Sanchez, who is guaranteed $8.25 million in 2013 and just had a miserable season, is expected to remain with the Jets if for no other reason than they are stuck with his contract. Even though Jets owner Woody Johnson said Ryan will be back next season, his status still appears tenuous with a new general manager coming in. Unless there is a huge personality conflict with the new boss, Ryan will probably be back.
So will his tattoo.
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. Tom Landry, who I got to know very well in the eight years I worked in Dallas and covered the Cowboys, loved his wife Alicia more than words can describe, but he never commissioned a tattoo artist to dress her up in Roger Staubach’s uniform top and place her on his right arm. I am pretty sure Tom Coughlin does not have a similar tattoo of his wife Judy in Eli Manning’s blue No. 10.
Ryan made headlines at the opening of training camp in 2011 when he showed up with an elaborate tattoo on his right calf that he had done while on vacation in Hawaii. He said it was not his first tattoo, but it probably preceded the Sanchez tattoo.
Ryan posted a six-second video on the Jets’ Facebook page to explain the meaning of the 2011 tattoo. “My new tat means, believe in yourself, which I got no problem doing,” Ryan said.
Ryan took off for the Bahamas on Wednesday and has yet to comment since GM Mike Tannenbaum — who, along with Johnson, hired him — was fired on Monday. The Jets are expected to begin interviews for a new GM on Friday. Ryan and Johnson will hold their postseason news conference on Tuesday.
The tattoo does make sense in one regard. In expressing last week that the Jets are the only team he wants to coach, Ryan said, “Let’s face it. I wear Jets stuff every single day, every day.”
Clearly, he was not kidding.
It’s hard to tell by the picture what book Ryan is reading. I should be insulted he’s not reading my book, “Coaching Confidential,” considering the last chapter is titled, “The Joy Of Rex.” But Ryan told me in his office in November that he had already read an advance copy.
I wish I knew about the tattoo when I wrote the book. It could have been a chapter by itself: Coach’s wife dressed only in quarterback’s jersey in a tattoo on the coach’s right arm.
Even with the Jets, you can’t make this stuff up.