Greg Buttle, the former Jets middle linebacker behind the Sack Exchange front line, was visiting the completed Atlantic Health Training Center this morning for the first time.
"If I'd've had this when I was playing," he said, smiling and striking a pose for a group in the hallway that included owner Woody Johnson, "I'd've been even better."
He might've been. Buttle was a fine player. And as a broadcaster, I've grown to appreciate him. He remains a proud, passionate guy and he shoots straight from his heart as only a former pro linebacker can.
Buttle was here today for a few reasons. He conducted an interview with Johnson for our Website, and he met head coach Rex Ryan for the first time.
But before going from Interview Room No. 2 to Rex's office, all on the first floor, he made a detour up to my second-floor perch to say hello. I wanted to check in with him to get some info for a plug I want to give him on SNY's Saturday 11:30 a.m. season premiere of "Jets Nation," which he'll have a part in as usual.
And I wanted to ask him what he expected, not at that time having met Ryan, from the new coaching regime.
"I would say this to Jets fans, from my arm's-length view of what the Jets have done so far this off-season," he said. "Without a doubt, the head coach is a great move.
"Now Bart Scott may turn out to be a great move, and we assume it would be. And Jim Leonhard may be a great move, and we assume it's going to be a good move. And other players that are moving in and out we assume would be good.
"But Rex Ryan? Great move. This guy's a throwback, he's transparent, he's not hiding anything," Buttle continued. "And you know what? As a player, from a former player, you can appreciate a coach that when he looks you in the eye and tells you something, he means it, and he's not going to change his mind or tell you something different the next day."
And that, said Buttle, is Rex Ryan: "He comes from those old-school guys, the Buddy Ryans and the Walt Michaels of the world. That's where it comes from."
I'm not sure how I feel about the now mustacheless Buttle, but I like his input on ESPN Radio and SNY and occasionally for newyorkjets.com. Greg said he'll send me a blog in the near future about some of his views on the upcoming draft. I'm looking forward to it.