San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner, left, and New York...

San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner, left, and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan greet each other after the Jets beat the Chargers 17-14 in an NFL divisional playoff football game. (Jan. 17, 2010) Credit: AP

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan knows he was wrong for the verbal dart he said he mistakenly hurled at Norv Turner on Wednesday, a jab that reverberated from San Diego to the East Coast.

Ryan told San Diego reporters on Wednesday that he thinks he would have a pair of Super Bowl rings by now if the Chargers had hired him rather than Turner as their head coach in 2007. Ryan also spoke glowingly about the Chargers' level of talent, leading people to conclude that Ryan was guilty of one of his typical tweaks.

Ryan called Turner on Wednesday to make sure the Chargers' coach knew he wasn't trying to slight him. Ryan offered a public apology Thursday, taking full responsibility for his gaffe.

"It's all on me," Ryan said. "I'm guilty, absolutely. It was unintentional."

Realizing that the comment could be interpreted as a backhanded slap at Turner, Ryan felt the need to clarify matters with him and picked up the phone.

"When I said it, I was just answering the question and wasn't necessarily thinking about my response," Ryan said. "Then I was like, 'Aw, man. I better call Norv.' I'm sure he knows it's unintentional, but I wanted to make sure that he heard it from me."

Turner said he hadn't seen or heard the comments before Ryan dialed him up. "I was a little bit surprised by the call," he told San Diego reporters Wednesday. "And then after I saw the quote, I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed the last couple of years."

Ryan had no problem with Turner's return jab, explaining how before that response, he jokingly had asked Turner if he should wear a helmet to Sunday's game, and he said Turner assured him there was no need. Ryan cracked that he might have more patching up to do with Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum about the teams' relative talent levels than with Turner.

"I think we are even, though, because he did get me with a great shot, there's no question," Ryan said of Turner. "I do think I'll be able to get my relationship back with Norv and I think we'll be OK. The one I do worry about is Tannenbaum, obviously. But he won't speak to me or anything else now."

Tannenbaum apparently isn't upset. In a statement, the general manager said: "I love working with Rex, he makes it fun every day and I wouldn't change him for the world.''

For those who perceived Ryan's comments about the Chargers' level of talent as a swipe at the roster Tannenbaum has assembled, Ryan scoffed at that notion.

"I wouldn't trade this team for anybody's," Ryan said, "and I've said that forever. That's why I made the joke about Tannenbaum, because that's the most ridiculous thing. That's more ridiculous than my comment."

Former Charger LaDainian Tomlinson chuckled at the whole ordeal.

"That's just Rex being Rex. We laughed," he said. "The guys who get offended by it are the guys in San Diego. We don't care, he's our coach. We've got to play the game. I don't know if we'll see a Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz deal."

Dustin Keller said he wasn't bothered by Ryan's talking up the Chargers' roster.

"Just like the same thing with some of the comments that were taken out of context with Santonio [Holmes] about the O-line," the tight end said, "he doesn't mean any of that stuff, just like Rex doesn't think San Diego has a better team or anything like that.

"If you look back at all the things he's said, his first year here with the Jets, he said he was going to win a Super Bowl. His second year, he said he was going to win a Super Bowl. This year, he still believes that we can win the Super Bowl.

"So for him to say that he thinks he would've won a few Super Bowls, it's the same confidence that he has right here. That says a lot about his confidence in himself as a coach, and we agree with him. So we don't really take that as a slap in the face."

Ryan hopes Turner doesn't, either. "I really didn't mean those things sincerely," he said.

"It just happens."

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