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Jets won't be camera shy on HBO's "Hard Knocks"

Jets head coach Rex Ryan comments as team

Jets head coach Rex Ryan comments as team owner Woody Johnson, left, Ross Greenburg president of HBO Sports and Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films listen after the announcement that the Jets will be featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks." (Mar. 25, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Reporters did what they could Thursday to point out every potential pitfall of turning Rex Ryan's training camp into an HBO reality show, but the Jets coach would not budge.

"Some people might have dreaded it,'' Ryan said. "Shoot, I'm just the opposite.''

So it went at the Jets' training facility as the team announced it will be featured on "Hard Knocks,'' a weekly, five-episode series that will debut Aug. 11 and follow preparations for the 2010 season.

By the time the news conference was over, it was evident why HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg had called the Jets "the right team at the right time with the right coach.''

It would be an understatement to say Ryan and owner Woody Johnson have embraced the idea. "We don't have anything to hide as a football team,'' said Ryan, who Greenburg predicted would be "a quote machine'' this summer.

Said Johnson: "You can argue that there's no other team in the league right now that's more interesting than the New York Jets.''

Johnson said the decision to give NFL Films full access is part of the team's more open policy in the post-Eric Mangini era. But it also led to speculation it was driven by short-term business needs as the Jets try to sell personal seat licenses and tickets for New Meadowlands Stadium.

Johnson denied a direct link. "I don't think it has anything to do with selling PSLs,'' he said.

HBO had been after the Jets for several years. The team declined to participate last summer with a first-year coach in place, but with Ryan now established it decided to take the leap.

Ryan downplayed the potential for distractions or for making the mouthy Jets even more of a target than they were last season. NFL Films president Steve Sabol said anything that could put them at a competitive disadvantage and certain personal matters would not be used. Beyond that, pretty much anything goes.

Ryan was part of the first "Hard Knocks'' in 2001, when he was defensive-line coach of the Ravens. "It was nothing,'' he said of the intrusion of cameras.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum needed more convincing than did Ryan and Johnson, but he said talking to officials from other teams that took part calmed his fears.

Ryan said his players would be able to focus on work, cameras or not, and that the exposure would reflect well on them.

"I think this will be a great opportunity even for just the casual NFL fan to sit back and jump on board this Jet bandwagon," Ryan said, "because this is a team I think is going in the direction of a Super Bowl. I said that from day one, and I feel we are closer now than we have ever been.

"So hop on board and let's see what happens.''

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