Summertime and the sweatin' is easy.
Which is why Eric Allen and I got to visit with Rex Ryan and his wife, Michelle, a short while ago this morning. The Jets are nine days away from arriving in Cortland, N.Y., for the start of their training camp. And Rex, Michelle and the Jets are part of Gatorade's "Beat the Heat" campaign with the NFL to educate parents and coaches about heat-related illness and the importance of hydration.
"As a football coach, you're very aware of hydrating your players and making sure that you don't have any of the tragedies that happened in the past," Ryan said. "With Gatorade the kind of product it is, obviously for the hydration and the electrolytes, it replaces all the electrolytes in your system, and I think it's critical.
"Really a simple thing that we use is you try to hydrate before an activity, during the activity and then after the activity. And generally if you do that, you'll stay safe.:
Michelle provided the maternal concerns on the matter — and in the process did a little standup routine with her hubby of almost 25 years.
"As a mother of two active teenage boys," she said, "I understand and parents need to be aware that along with the coaches and trainers, they need to hydrate their children before they go to Little League soccer, Little League baseball—"
"Say football, sweetheart," said Rex.
"Football is a given," Michelle replied. "Parents need to be aware of the importance of hydrating and giving your kids Gatorade and water throughout the day before they go to their practices, whatever they are."
Rex also offered a great point for all the faithful who will be flocking to the Jets' Central New York location for three weeks beginning with their first practice of camp on Friday morning, July 31.
"I really think where your concerns ought to be is not as much with the players but with the fans," he said. "That's where I've seen guys just drop like flies out there."
For all who want to learn more about the importance of hydration, you can go to www.nfl.com/trainingcamp, where you will find the Gatorade Heat Safety kit. For every unique download of the kit, Gatorade will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to "Beat the Heat" charities.
"See You in February"
I couldn't resist asking Michelle if, after all these years of sending Rex away to summer camp as a position coach and then as a defensive coordinator, this year will be any different as he opens his first camp as an NFL head coach.
"He's going to be, I'm sure, a lot busier," she said. "We won't have as many opportunities to spend with him or see him at training camp. He'll have more press responsibilities, more meetings, more decisions to make. That will certainly limit our time with him. But he's the same as he's always been, just a little busier."
"Being a head coach and all that, I'll have more media things, I've gotta deal with Bruce more," said Rex about senior director of media relations Bruce Speight. "But there's no changes. What do we say?"
Michelle responded: "Every time he leaves for training camp, as he drives off in his truck, it's standard procedure. I stand on the porch and he rolls down the window and says, 'Goodbye, my dear, football is here.' "
So true. But the Ryan family's loss is the Jets family's gain. They and you and all Green & White fans everywhere can keep up with Rex and the team here on newyorkjets.com. Eric and I are back from vacations and ready to rip into the new season. We'll have features and blogs in the next week on Damien Woody and Jerricho Cotchery talking about the upcoming camp, Jim Leonhard reflecting on his own football camp and on the Jets' growing defense, and a few other bells and whistles.
Then EA will provide a camp preview, complete with comments from Rex. And come next Thursday we'll be writing, blogging and tweeting in bucolic Cortland as the players and coaches arrive and kick off 2009 training camp with the first two-a-day of summer beginning at 8:15 a.m. Friday morning.