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Jets, HBO ready to roll cameras in Cortland

In this June 16, 2010, photo, New York

In this June 16, 2010, photo, New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson, left, takes the handoff from quarterback Mark Sanchez during NFL football minicamp at the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports, is convinced the Jets will be a huge hit on "Hard Knocks" this summer, and not just because he has rooted for them since he was a kid. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Ross Greenburg could be forgiven if he had rooted for Terrell Owens to join the Jets when that notion briefly flitted across the media landscape Tuesday.

As president of HBO Sports, he has an interest in Gang Green being as colorful as possible, what with dedicating five hours of television to the team for the network's "Hard Knocks" series.

But Greenburg insisted he did not wish T.O. upon the Jets.

"No, I don't think we need any more excitement," he said Wednesdayon a conference call to publicize the show, which premieres Aug. 11.

"I think [general manager] Mike Tannenbaum has delivered enough. We have our cast of characters. We don't need any more."

Greenburg is counting on one of those characters being Rex Ryan. But the coach downplayed his role, touting Mark Sanchez, Bart Scott, Kris Jenkins and assistant coach Mike Westhoff as likelier stars.

"There's no way I'm going to be the star here," Ryan said. "I'm too boring, I think."

No one buys that. One reason the Jets will allow cameras into their lives - in addition, presumably, to help sell tickets and personal seat licenses - is that Ryan is all for it, and that he can pull it off.

"He's our Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg," Greenberg said half-jokingly of Ryan, who during the call displayed the wit that has HBO so excited.

Asked whether there are any areas cameras will not have access to, he said, "I hope my shower will be off limits. I think everybody's banking on that."

As when the Jets' participation first was announced, Ryan fielded several questions about the potential for distraction during camp. But he said the Jets have nothing to hide and no fear of disruptions, citing his experience on "Hard Knocks" as a Ravens assistant in 2001.

"It takes about two days for the guys to realize 'Hey, it's no big deal,' " Ryan said. "That's the beauty of it. If we just work the way we always do and be ourselves, it's going to be a positive thing."

So positive, he hopes, that it will further his goal "to have every player in the NFL want to play for the Jets and have every coach want to coach for the Jets."

Director Steve Trout agreed by the second or third day players "completely forget we're there." He will control 11 cameras at the training camp in Cortland - five handheld and six robotic ones.

Ryan said teams have a "trust factor" with NFL Films, which produces the show for HBO. But Trout said it is rare for participants to try to have content excluded, and Greenburg said HBO treats the series as it would any documentary.

"There's no difference whatsoever," he said. "It's all about truth, transparency and looking at the situation head on . . . We're like Rex. We like to go for the jugular and go for the story."

Within reason, that is. Trout confirmed there are no plans to place a camera in the coach's shower.

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