Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted on Sept.
His reaction? "I just kind of laughed," the coach said.
What was telling was that Ryan was not laughing about the notion itself but rather about the timing, given that new general manager John Idzik hadn't had a chance to so much as locate the coffee machine at team headquarters.
"I'm like, it's John's first day," Ryan said. "It's his first day in the building and this is what comes up!"
A few hours later, no one was laughing.
After a series of news conferences in which Idzik, Ryan and Johnson pointedly refused to say anything substantive about Revis' future, or lack thereof, the team's best player fired back on Twitter, writing:
"I'm speechless by far but more importantly I feel more upset for the jet nation for having to go through this!!!"
Don't worry about them, Darrelle. They're used to it. The new guy in the front office is the one who will have to deal with the fallout.
Idzik, a coach's son, has been around the NFL since he was 6. But even after a lifetime in football, nothing can quite prepare a high-ranking executive for an old-fashioned Gotham grilling, so why not throw Idzik into the deep end?
How'd he do? The good news was that he came off as just the sort of levelheaded, disciplined executive that the Jets need.
He stuck to his talking points about franchise-wide collaboration and avoided getting sucked into controversy, from what he thinks of Mark Sanchez to the perception that the Jets had trouble filling the job to the team's image problems.
"I don't sense dysfunction or anything like that," he said after noting that everyone in the building shook his hand in welcome. (Sanchez was in the building Thursday, so he presumably was among the hand-shakers.)
The bad news was that Idzik and his colleagues needlessly stirred things up with Revis exactly when the franchise was supposed to be in stabilization mode.
The Jets have every right not to commit fully to Revis, given that Idzik just got here, that Revis is coming off a torn ACL and that he has a history of contract complications. If a bidder offers a package of draft picks they can't refuse, the Jets certainly should consider unloading him, something most fans would accept as part of a rebuilding project.
But there were more politic ways of addressing the issue than promising him nothing more than the same evaluation that will be offered to backup guards and third-string linebackers.
For example: Obviously, we'd love to have Revis on our team, but things are more complicated than that in the modern NFL.
Ryan reminded reporters, "You guys know how I feel about Darrelle."
Actually, we know how he has felt about him in the past. Thursday officially was the dawn of a new Jets day, so Revis and "jet nation" had nothing to go on other than what they heard on Day One.
Johnson did say "Darrelle is a great player," but when asked if the report about looking into trading him was untrue, the owner did not say anything other than "I don't know where it came from. I would never say anything about a contract or a trade or anything like that."
Idzik said he prefers to let actions speak, not words. That's why he did not predict any White House visits, as Ryan did upon being introduced in 2009, and why he was noncommittal about Revis.
"He hasn't opened up a tape yet," Ryan said.
Do the Jets really need tape to know what Revis can do?
After his initial tweet, Revis sounded calmer in a follow-up, which said simply, "I guess we'll see how this plays out."
Your move, Mr. Idzik.
Oh, and one more thing: Welcome!