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Rex wants every player to dream of wearing green

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan responds

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan responds to a question during a news conference during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. (Feb. 24, 2011) Credit: AP

Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips sparked a small brush fire back in January, when the two Giants safeties openly spoke of how they'd love to play for Rex Ryan rather than someone like Tom Coughlin.

One of Ryan's goals when he first took the job was to change the culture surrounding the franchise and make the Jets a team players want to flock to. So he admitted that comments like those of Rolle and Phillips were like music to his ears.

"it’s good to hear players want to come play for us and all that, there's no denying that," Ryan told reporters today during the NFL coaches breakfast in New Orleans. "It’s always good to hear that."

HBO's "Hard Knocks" helped tear back the curtain and show an even lighter side -- if that's possible -- of Ryan. But, not only does the guy know how to have a good time, he lets the players be themselves. And oh yeah, he's guided his team to successive AFC championship game appearances in his first two seasons at the helm.

"I want to show how we take care of our players and the kind of organization we have," Ryan said, "from our owner Woody Johnson, and our GM Mike Tannenbaum, and how we do things. I think that helps us, I really do. I think that helps us.

"You are in the best market in the world, and by the way, we've got a heck of a football team. So I think it’s a great combination. We have a lot of great people in our organization and a lot of great players. And we have a great time playing, too."

Back in November, Ryan was the clear-cut winner in a Sports Illustrated poll asking the players, "For which other coach would you most like to play for?" Ryan grabbed 21 percent of the vote, beating out Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin (12 percent), New Orleans' Sean Payton (9 percent). Tennessee's Jeff Fisher (8 percent) and New England's Bill Belichick (7 percent.)

"Maybe it’s another comment I made that maybe has more truth to it than others," Ryan said. "All I do is try to speak the truth, and sometimes it doesn't go over very well. But I’m just telling you what I believe. And when I say that I'd like to have every player in the league want to play for the Jets, we are on the right path because I think a lot of players do want to play for the Jets. And the great thing is the players we have want to play for the Jets, so I think that's important to me."

Something that's become important to others when they see Rex? Repeating his now famous "Hard Knocks" line: "Let's go get a --- damn snack."

"I hear it a bunch, there's no question," Ryan said. "A lot of people, maybe they don't know but when I talked to the team, I always talk about, 'Let’s go eat a snack or something' and it kind of slipped out. But man, a lot’s been made of that. It’s incredible."

New York Sports