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Ryan tabs Dennis Byrd to address team

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan talks to

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan talks to the media as his team prepares for their playoff game against the New England Patriots. (Jan. 12, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Joe Epstein

Rex Ryan dipped into his motivational bag of tricks again last night.

Ryan turned to Dennis Byrd to deliver Saturday night's speech to the team, something that's typically handled by Ryan himself. But with today's huge AFC divisional game against the top-seeded Patriots on tap and knowing no one is giving them a snowball's chance to knock off Tom Brady & Co., Ryan had the former defensive lineman talk to his troops at the team's hotel here in Providence, R.I.

Byrd suffered a broken neck against the Chiefs in 1992 after colliding with teammate Scott Mersereau, leaving him temporarily paralyzed. He broke his C-5 vertebra, leaving him paralyzed at the time. Byrd ended up walking again, though he was never able to play once more.

Braylon Edwards, for one, was left impressed with what Byrd had to say.

"I just heard the most inspirational message of my life from former Jet Dennis Byrd," Edwards wrote on Twitter.

He added: "As God is my witness, I have never been more ready to perform in my life. Dennis Byrd, I respect, salute and honor you."

Byrd is expected to attend today's game in Foxborough, Mass.

New York Sports