FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The NFL came down hard on Rex Ryan on Monday, fining him $75,000 for screaming a profanity at a fan.
Ryan made the remark during halftime of the Jets' Nov. 13 loss to the Patriots at MetLife Stadium. As he walked into the tunnel -- minutes after the Jets had called an ill-advised timeout that gave the Patriots extra time and then surrendered an 80-yard TD drive in the final 80 seconds -- a fan compared him with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, yelling: "Hey, Rex, Belichick is better than you!"
Ryan, who wasn't in a particularly good mood at the time, responded with an obscenity, a move he said he regrets. "I won't appeal it," he said of the fine, adding that he recently spoke with commissioner Roger Goodell to apologize for the incident. "The commissioner has got a tough enough job. I'm an NFL lifer and I know I represent the NFL and I represent the Jets. So I'm accountable for my actions . . . "
The fine was stiff because Ryan is considered a repeat offender. After his first season, Ryan made an obscene gesture during a mixed martial arts event the day before the Pro Bowl, and the Jets fined him $50,000. This time it was the league that fined Ryan. Another gaffe could have him looking at a six-digit figure.
"It was a mistake and I've owned up to that mistake," Ryan said. " . . . I just want to get it behind me and move forward."