New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Rex not wary of son playing football
In light of Junior Seau’s suicide this week, Rex Ryan was asked if he had any reservations about his sons playing football.
The Jets head coach said no, detailing the ways the game has benefitted himself as his family. Ryan also disclosed his son, Seth, a high school cornerback and wide receiver, suffered a concussion last year.
"I love the sport," the coach said. "This game has been incredible to me and my family. I mean, amazing. In fact, we made a great living doing what we love to do, and that's be around the sport. This game is not for everybody. When I look at the young men that we have playing this game on this level, I've always said, These are mighty men, there is no question. I don't know if it's a true fact or not, but I always say it: It's easier to win the lottery than it is to play in the National Football League. If that's a true statement or not, that's what was told to me. That just shows you how special these guys are.
"Now, is it a physical sport? Absolutely. The thing that I think separates football from other sports, I think it takes courage to play football, and that's why I think guys are so special that play this game. You can put yourself in this, as well. Line up on that kickoff team, you're running down that field, you don't know where it's coming from, but you know it's coming. You're scared, but you go anyway.
"I think that tells you a little bit about this game. You got to overcome fear even. It's like, I'm going down. It's not natural to run down and get hit. I could play basketball. We could go play basketball right now. Who cares, you know? Every now and then you get an occasional elbow from somebody or something.
"This is a physical, challenging sport. It takes somebody special to play this game. I'm proud that my kid plays. ...We are so much further along now. You look at the league, nobody is forcing guys to come back. It's just the opposite. I think our trainers do an unbelievable job, our doctors do an unbelievable job. Today I don't put a young man out there unless they feel he's healthy to come back enough to play. Same thing with my son. Obviously you concerns when that happens, but it's just one of those things, an unfortunate part of the game. It does happen occasionally.
"But I truly think everybody's working to try to get this thing minimized. We've got to protect our players, protect our athletes without question. I think we've tried to do that with the helmets, with the way the trainers are and everything else.
"Would I still have my son playing? Absolutely."