As far as the players knew, it was going to be business as usual today, the last day of the Jets' Organized Team Activity practices.
"This was our fourth day straight this week," cornerback Kyle Wilson said. "It had been a pretty tough week of practice."
Then at this morning's team meeting, Rex Ryan let the cat out of the bag — by appearing before his team in his monogrammed bowling shirt.
"We were expecting the same routine," said safety Josh Bush, "and then Coach surprised us."
Today was one of Rex's surprise team-activity days, and the team activity was held at local lanes not far from the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, NJ. Players and coaches, most from different positions, were divided into four-man groups and got to roll two games apiece.
"We always try to do something with the guys," Ryan said later. "We've done paintball before, we had a military visit. We had a great time today, and guys were needling each other pretty good."
"It's having all the guys together in one spot, just laughing and enjoying each other," said linebacker Antwan Barnes, "and at the same time just finding out about each other, how it is to be around a guy, how competitive a guy is, that kind of stuff."
Ryan said he likes bowling because "it's an activity that's a lot of fun and yet it's humbling, something that everybody can do but nobody's very good at it."
But at the same time, there are quite a few Jets who are very good at it. Bush, for instance.
"When it comes to bowling, I'm like LeBron James," said Bush, who rolled a team-high 204. "Everyone wants to try to knock me off my pedestal."
"Josh is pretty good, but I don't know about LeBron," said Wilson, who checked in with a 166. "But he's probably one of the best we've got."
Bowling fits into Barnes' rehab regimen, which is good because he goes way back with the sport.
"It's something I picked up right after high school going into college," said Barnes, whose 198 came in second behind Bush. "One of my best friends was on the bowling team in high school. We bowled all the time."
As for the quality of the sport among him and his teammates, he said, "You've got guys that do the golf thing and you've got guys that do the bowling thing. I know I can't golf, so I just stick with bowling."
Ryan cited a few other impressive keglers from the morning event. CBs Ellis Lankster and Jeremy Reeves checked in with 190s, and their position coach, Tim McDonald, rolled a 180. Tight ends coach Ron Heller, coming off recent back surgery, scored a 150.
As for the head coach, he said, "I was able to keep my 'man card' by breaking 100. I had 120 or something. But I was in danger. I had 41 after five frames and had to mark in the last three frames to break 100."
The really big score, of course, was for team morale heading into next week's full-squad minicamp and then one last month away from football before training camp begins.