Rex's Friday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets head coach Rex Ryan's news conference following Friday's midday practice:   

I will say this. I understand that we are selling AFC Championship merchandise, so I like that thinking. Unfortunately, every team in the league is. You have Indy doing it, New Orleans and Minnesota, just so everybody is clear on that. I'll be honest, I was like, "What? I like it, I like it."

On if the AFC Championship merchandise goes against his superstitions…

No, the whole league is doing it. The four teams that are left are doing it.

On if selling championship merchandise was on his playoff calendar…

No, everybody knows you can't buy a 4X T-shirt anyway. I don't care about that stuff. I always go into men's stores and ask, "Where is your men's section at?"' "What do you mean? We have 2X." I'm like, "Yeah, who is that supposed to fit?" It's tough.

On Shaun Ellis…

He's not restricted. I know his hand is in a cast, but there's no limitations whatsoever for him.

On if Ellis has a different cast…

We tried to put a different one on and it was going to be natural, but he would rather have it like this. We looked at doing different things, but he feels good this way.

On if he expects Ellis to play his normal amount…

Yes.

On if they have to check with the officials before the game to make sure Ellis' hand is casted properly….

Yes. We thought about putting steel on it but we thought that might be against the rules. He's got foil underneath, though. No, it obviously has to be soft on the outside, yet still protect him.

On if there has been enough talk this week…

Pretty much. I know both teams are going to be excited about this opportunity. Both teams have earned this opportunity and it's just going to be a great game. When you look at it, the two teams are built differently. Both teams have really good defenses. Their style of play is different than ours. That's an accomplished defense. You look at our defense and it's very accomplished. You look at their offense – they are built more of a throw the football down the field. We are built more to run it. You know, we are similar that we are both effective and we got here, but we have just done it differently. It's going to be a great matchup – old school versus new school.

On if there is more pressure on the Colts than the Jets…

I don't feel any pressure, so if they are feeling a little, maybe there is.

On his last message to Mark Sanchez before the game…

Go have fun. Let's go. Play the position. Have some fun. Just because every kid in the world dreams to be in this spot, don't let it affect you.

On how Sanchez has acted this week…

Business as usual. He's just being Mark and messing around with everybody and bouncing around and having fun.

On if Sanchez's youth helps him to not get caught up in the moment…

I think everybody knows, and we made it clear to everybody, how fortunate we are to be in the situation and how tough it is to get here. It's easy to say, we are going to have a ten-year run because we have a young quarterback, but nothing is guaranteed in this game. You've got to earn your way every time to get there. We are fortunate to have this opportunity and let's just go out and take advantage. I still think you can't play tight. This is a kid's game. All of us are just fortunate to get this opportunity. I know how fortunate I am to be a coach in this league when there's many more guys probably more deserving than I am, but I was given this opportunity and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I think our players should as well. It's easier to win a lottery than it is to play in the National Football League, so enjoy it. It's a kid's game and go out and be a kid. You make a lot of money, but who cares. You're still fortunate to be playing this game.

On if he is still using codes with Sanchez…

Yes. There's some that we really can't talk about, but we make sure that he is clued in. It's not as much the red/yellow/green. We have moved past that a little bit. It's just focusing on the job at hand. We have Tony Richardson talking with him. We have Matt Cavanaugh, before he gets out there, talking to him and he's on the sideline. It's good. I think he really understands what we want from him.

On if he ever gets nervous before a game…

I always say this: Whatever you guys do, just do-do-don-don't panic. We are not going to panic. No, never. There might be some concerns, but I never feel like that. I'm excited. All week you prepare and now it's just, let's go out and do it.

On Sanchez being comfortable on the big stage…

He's got the mentality that this is a game. He doesn't overanalyze it, doesn't take himself too seriously. He just knows he's fortunate and he's still playing a game that millions of people would love to have this opportunity. He's going to go out and play his game.

On if his first impressions of Jim Leonhard were that someone was playing a joke on him…

No, I thought they were playing a joke on me when they wanted us to cut him. That's when I thought they were playing a joke on me. I knew about Jim Leonhard when he came out of Wisconsin. I really wanted him. He ended up going to the Bills. I don't know if that was over money or what it was but he made a mistake and went to the Bills. When his name came up, George Kokinis said, "Hey, remember this kid that you really liked? He just got released by the Bills." So we jumped at him and literally he came there on a two-day, tryout-type basis. I remember telling Ozzie [Newsome], "Man, this guy is sharp."

Now we had just drafted two safeties, [Tom] Zbikowski and [Haruki] Nakamura. I think both those kids are going to be really good. We had a decent guy in Ed Reed [laughter], and we had [Dawan] Landry, who is a heck of a player. I knew that this guy is a football player, and the great thing about Ozzie is when you're adamant about it, and he knew I was, that he loves football players also. He's like "OK, but here is what you've got to do. You have to let three guys go." So I had to cut three players to keep Jim Leonhard. When we did, it was one of best moves we ever did, because right away he went in front of both those rookies.

He plays the game as smart as he can and he never looked back. I'm happy he only signed that one-year deal at Baltimore because that allowed him to be a free agent. Trust me we were not the only team that new how good Jim Leonhard was. There was a team that basically offered him over a million dollars more in his package to go somewhere else, but he chose to come here.

On his friendship with DBs coach Dennis Thurman…

It's funny, because he came in, I think, as an intern coach. It was clear that this guy is big time. I mean, there was no question about it. You knew that this guy was the real deal. Brian [Billick] was the coach, and I think we ended up having a spot where it's like, hey, you know what, he's so good, we are going to invent a spot here. That's how he basically got on. The things that he has accomplished as a player and as a coach, I mean, look at his resumé. He taught Ronnie Lott how to study tape, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, all of these guys that he's personally coached. You look at the numbers. He's as good as it gets. He's a great person. He's as smart as he can be. Just talking football, what would take me about two hours to learn, he would learn in two minutes. That's the truth.

On if he remembers Thurman as a player…

Oh, yes. Like I said, I wasn't a big fan of Dallas, so I remember him. Everybody in Philly remembers him because he knocked Harold Carmichael out of the game and broke his streak of playing straight games. Wilbert Montgomery still is ticked off about it. He thought it was a cheap shot but it wasn't. Dennis came in and smashed him. He used to always have those wrists taped up to here and he was trying to hit people. He's just a great player. Look at all the interceptions he had, great ball skills and just tough. When you look at him, he's so humble and always has a smile on his face, but he never played like that.

On if Darrelle Revis will be playing multiple receivers this Sunday…

We don't know. That's our story. We're sticking to it.

On after watching the Yankees win the World Series did it make him think about what it would be like to win a title in New York City…

No. I just remember when the Jets won it. That's where I went back to, a few years ago, 41 I think. That's what I remember. The Yankees, they have done it 27 times. I bet you anything, it never gets old. You're a World Champion. That's the beauty of it. Right now, we are two games away from being World Champions. That's amazing.

On New York City embracing the Jets with a pep rally…

See, I'm sheltered. This is what I know, right here, and my house. So I'm not even aware of anything.

On if he watched the Yankees parade…

No.

On if he's worried about the "Sports Illustrated cover jinx" with Sanchez being on the cover this week…

That's not even a real superstition. That's a nothing thing. That's nothing. That's like the "Same Old Jets" thing. That means nothing to us. It's a good shot of the mouth guard, though, I thought.

On if he ever addressed the "Same Old Jets" issue with the team…

No. The "Same Old Jets" thing to me is like, it was hilarious. What are you talking about? That's like bad karma or something, where to me, "Same Old Jets" would be like my dad came here as a rookie coach and won a Super Bowl. That's the kind of karma I'm talking about, so it's a good thing.

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