LORHAM PARK, N.J. - F
For one afternoon, at least, rivals Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick were a united front.
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Both coaches Thursday brushed off allegations that Belichick got his hands on a Jets playbook -- a claim made by none other than former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
Pettine, now a first-year coach with the Cleveland Browns, told Sports Illustrated's Monday Morning Quarterback website that at Wes Welker's wedding in 2012, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had bragged to former Jets assistant Mike Smith -- Welker's college roommate at Texas Tech -- that New England may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets' defensive playbooks.
And that allegation rubbed Ryan -- and Belichick -- the wrong way.
"There's a couple things that tick me off," Ryan said. "In this business, you do share information with people that you're close with. Nick Saban's a personal friend of Bill Belichick's, he's a friend of mine as well. So are there other coaches that I've helped along the way? Absolutely. And vice versa.
"That ticks me off, and then the insinuation that New England had an advantage. They never had an advantage when we played them. Ever. It's just that they've outperformed us. The times that they've beat us, they've outperformed us, and it's as simple as that."
Though Ryan said the "PlaybookGate" controversy was "blown out of proportion a little bit," he made sure to voice his irritation with Pettine, a longtime friend and his former coordinator from 2009-2012.
"No. 1, I think it's disrespectful to New England to sit back and say that they did this," Ryan said, adding that the Jets' defensive playbooks change each week depending on the opponent. " 'Cause I can tell you, every single game that we've ever had with New England has been decided on the field. Nobody's had a competitive advantage. And that's a fact. So all that type of stuff is ridiculous."
Pettine, however, portrayed Ryan as careless and naive when it came to their defensive intel.
"It didn't shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway," Pettine said of their playbooks. "He gave one out to Saban and I was like, 'Don't you know Saban and Bill are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it's going to end up in New England.' "
Pettine added: "We know in places like New England, it's only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook."
In 2007, Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 and the Patriots were ordered to pay $250,000 for spying on the Jets' defensive signals from the sideline during New England's 38-14 victory.
Saban was Belichick's defensive coordinator with the Browns from 1991-94. But an Alabama spokesman said in an email to Newsday that Saban still has the playbook Ryan gave him in his office.
"Coach Saban didn't send a playbook to anyone and wouldn't do so under any circumstance," the spokesman said, adding that Ryan is good friends with Saban and that Ryan spoke at one of the university's coaching clinics a few years back.
Asked for a response to Pettine's comments, Belichick told the Boston media: "Go talk to Mike Pettine. I don't know."
Said Ryan: "It sounds like everybody needs to talk to Pettine because apparently he's got all the information . . . I don't understand what he's trying to gain by it."