Eric Decker, the Jets' newly signed wide receiver, decided to attend a country music awards ceremony along with his wife, country star Jessie James. Little did Decker know he'd created a stir by missing a voluntary training session.
"I talked with coach [Rex] Ryan about it and let him know this was something that was important," Decker said after Wednesday's practice session - again, a voluntary event. "If he had an issue with it, we would have discussed it and figured out a solution at that point.
"Marriage is give and take," Decker said. "Any relationship is give and take. It’s funny how this became such a story, but it was an opportunity for us to get down there [to Nashville, Tenn.] and be around our friends, be around the music industry that she’s a part of. When your wife gives birth and goes through 9 months of tough days to give you a child, you respect the woman a lot more. She’s very important to me, and her career is very important to me as well."
James gave birth to the couple's first child in March.
Ryan said he had no problem with Decker missing last week's practice.
"That’s what’s so great about Rex ryan and this organization. You take care of one another. That’s how you build a winning program," Decker said. "I have a lot of respect for him and for him to stand up and say it, that means a lot to me."
Said Ryan: "These are voluntary workouts. Those things come up, things in family. Any time somebody has something dealing with their family, they’ll always be excused. This was a good thing, not a bad thing. Certainly had a conversation and – not that he needed my blessing - but he certainly had it."
Ryan himself learned a valuable lesson about tending to family matters. He missed the birth of his first child to be at practice when he worked for the Cardinals.
"Stupid mistake I made," he said. "Stupid, and one that I regret. If you can be ther to support your spouse, that’s an important thing for her, and you need to do that."