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Rex Ryan the journalist? Jets' coach plays reporter as he quizzes the media

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan responds

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan responds to questions during a news conference at NFL football training camp Friday, July 25, 2014, in Cortland, N.Y. Credit: AP / Frank Franklin II

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Just call him "Reporter Rex."

The Jets' coach flipped the script on the beat writers Saturday when he interrupted his own news conference to call an unsuspecting reporter to the podium.

"Let's just pick anybody -- oh, Rich Cimini! You're going to answer some questions," Ryan said playfully, referring to the longtime beat writer, who is in his 26th year covering the team.

Ryan then took a seat in the crowd and began firing off his own tough questions.

"You want to start with the injuries?" he asked, smiling.

Without missing a beat, Cimini delivered a line straight from the Rex Ryan media handbook: "I don't want to get into too much depth. We're leaning on the doctors and trainers. Check with Bruce [Speight, the public relations director] later."

Ryan then began rattling off questions related to the specifics of covering a beat, but the humorous exchange also yielded some honest thoughts from the sixth-year coach.

"When you sit in here, it's like, guys, how many times are you going to ask me a question about a quarterback thing, which clearly I don't want to answer?" Ryan said. ". . . I know you guys gotta pick on me, and sometimes I'll slip, I'll make a mistake, and then you guys pounce all over it. I leave the door wide open and you guys hit it."

Asked if he got tired of fielding a ton of Tim Tebow questions in 2012, Ryan said with a laugh: "I'll admit it: I absolutely did. You did [get tired of it] cause you're talking about a backup quarterback."

Ryan was curious about what it's like being a beat writer, even asking Cimini, a former Newsday writer, "What drove you to get in this profession?" and "What was the best story you ever covered in sports?"

And as the news conference went on, it became evident that the coach also has a genuine appreciation for the media -- unlike his father, Buddy Ryan, he said.

"The further along we got in the playoffs, when we started that ride, I told [my former fullback] Tony Richardson: 'You see our beat writers out there? By the end of this thing, this [room] is going to be filled with reporters.' "

Ryan certainly got what he wanted.

New York Sports