As I sat at my desk watching a Rex Ryan news conference earlier this week, I remarked to the rest of the Around The NFL team how it appeared that the Buffalo Bills coach had put on a few pounds since we last saw him.
Turned out I was right. Ryan told MMQB's Jenny Vrentas in a tremendous Q&A published Friday that he has gained 30 pounds since hiring his twin brother Rob to join his defense in Buffalo.
"I was going to get (Rob's) weight down to mine," Rex lamented. "No, no, my weight started going up to his."
As a Jets fan, I'd long ago become something of an expert in matters concerning Ryan's figure. People tend to forget how big Rex got by the end of his first season with the Jets way back in 2009. The man was, well, large and in charge. It was an unhealthy place that led to his decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery, a procedure that helped the coach shed well over 100 pounds from his frame. By the time he got to Buffalo last year, Ryan barely passed a resemblance to the guy who became a star in Gotham.
Who knows? Maybe the extra pounds will allow Rex to recapture the old spark. Nobody knows if this Rex-Rob pairing will work. There's a chance it could be a disaster -- remember they still have Dennis Thurman employed as the defensive coordinator (I'm sure he loves this arrangement). You can argue there are plenty of warning signs that the Bills are headed toward the abyss, but you have to give Rex credit for having enough self-awareness to understand this could be his last shot. And if you're in the fight of your life, why wouldn't you want your brother and best friend by your side?
Rob, by the way, is a corker of a human. He has a bushel of outright gems in the Vrentas piece. He passes blame all over the place about the end of his tenure of New Orleans, backs the bus over Jairus Byrd, insinuates coach Sean Payton should have been fired and basically presents himself as a cross between Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi and his dad, Buddy. He's bawdy and ridiculous and delusional, and I love him forever.
"Seattle has been great, but all the other teams doing (that scheme) are finishing sh--ty like I did," Rob said, explaining his disdain with the Saints' defensive game plan the past two seasons. "Right there next to New Orleans is Atlanta, Jacksonville. That's not sour grapes. That's me getting pissed off. Because I am great."
Because. I. Am. Great.
I understand that the bravado of the Ryan Bros. can be tiresome -- especially when unaccompanied by any tangible level of lasting success -- but I'll savor their presence as long as they stick around in the league. A couple years from now, when Rex is working for ESPN and Rob owns a barbecue truck in NOLA, we'll look back with fondness how the pair joyfully deviated from the dull script of NFL coaching culture.
Really though ... is Joe Flacco elite?
A few thoughts about this poll, powered by Estately, about what questions are most Googled in each state.» Um, is everybody OK in Hawaii? Just a phone call away, guys.
» That's not even a question, Pennsylvania.
» You need to get to the doctor, South Dakota.
» Wikipedia tells me that Mr. T is alive, Michigan.
» Oh Maryland.
Here's the thing, though, and I know you're going to think I'm trolling here but I'm not. "Is Joe Flacco elite?" is a pretty solid question. It's certainly more compelling than "How to make meth?" (pull yourself together, Kansas).
Flacco has been around a long time now, and I consider myself a really big fan of professional football. I've seen every one of Flacco's postseason games and a good number of his regular-season contests. Can I say with absolute certainty that Joe Flacco is elite? No. Can you?
This is still a pretty good question.
This is the gig your agent books when he can't get you the ESPYs.
I kid, I kid. J.J. is trying to build a brand, and hosting an award show is part of that whole climb up the athlete/celebrity power rankings. I'm not sure if Watt's a country music fan, though I do remember his rap performance last summer on Hard Knocks.
God, that's a terrible song. These are lyrics written by Gatorade brand ambassadors.
This has nothing to do with football ...
... but I respect the hell out of this kid. Swagger for days and the goods to back it up.
I hope this isn't the peak of his life -- but it's going to be hard to top.
Ricky Williams to open weed gym
Former NFL rushing champion Ricky Williams has been announced as a partner and spokesman for Power Plant Fitness, a pot-centric gym set to open later this year in San Francisco. Here's a real statement released by gym co-founder Jim McAlpine.
"Having Ricky Williams as a partner is f------ awesome because he exemplifies a successful and very athletic person who also uses cannabis," McAlpine told Complex. "Ricky is as smart as he is a talented athlete. And that is a big statement."
This all makes sense. If someone were to tell you that Ricky Williams were to one day open a business, you'd assume marijuana was somehow involved, right? I guess the surprise here is that it's a weed gym -- two words that typically don't go hand and hand. If they do, it's usually something like, "So I was going to go to the gym today, but I decided to stay on my couch and smoke weed instead."
If this place is open in two years, I will be stunned.
Chase that dream
We talked about popular offseason tropes on the latest Around The NFL Podcast. Here's another: The Longshot Guy Who Stands Outside A Team Facility In Hopes Of A Tryout. Since April 21, former UMass Dartmouth wide receiver Abiola Aborishade has spent his weekdays under a bridge near Patriots headquarters begging for a tryout. He carries a poster board that reads "talented hardworking athlete hoping for a chance to prove myself."
I'm not going to turn this in a Patriots hit job, but it would probably be nice if the Pats gave Aborishade a quick answer. After all, the dude's been chilling under a bridge for over a month.
We hope you get an answer, Abiola. And we hope it's the answer you want to hear.
Meanwhile, on "The Bachelorette"
Let's check in with Jordan Rodgers -- brother of Aaron and contestant on the latest season of The Bachelorette. Jordan made a stellar first impression on the saucy JoJo, earning the coveted first impression rose as well as the suspicion of the rest of the house. That's right, Jordan Rodgers has been immediately labeled by fellow contestants as the "He's Not There For The Right Reasons Guy." Solid drama.
By the way, Rodgers lists his job as "Former Professional Quarterback," which is very, very close to not true. Rodgers caught on with a couple practice squads but never made a team. He does have a pro-football-reference.com page, which supports his argument. Also, one guy's profession is listed as "Canadian." What I'm trying to say is that they're playing pretty fast and loose in "The Bachelorette" edit bay.
Something to keep an eye on here: Rodgers is shaping up as a favorite to make a deep run on the show, which sets up the possibility he'll be around for the episode when JoJo meets the families. Will Aaron show his face? How about Olivia Munn? If nothing else, having a Rodgers brother involved gives me a free pass to watch this show under the guise of work. My DVR shame level drops by 17 percent.
Kirk Cousins' music taste remains fascinating
Today the @Creed Greatest Hits album was played during the team lift.â Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) May 19, 2016
Today was a good day.
The Washington Post caught up with Cousins during a commercial shoot and asked the passer what else was on his playlist?
"I like Switchfoot," Cousins said. "I like Mat Kearney. The Fray. Parachute. Those are kind of my go-to's. That's kind of the sound that I like. Lifting, it works, but that's also what I like listening to in general."
I'm with Kirk. Whenever I need to reach that next level on the bench press, I crank up "How To Save A Life" and let my adrenaline handle the rest.
Here's something else I found during research toward my column this week. I have nothing else to say.
Quote of the Week
"He's not going to be able to watch us coach for much longer, I don't think. But hopefully he can see this one, because we have got big plans. Bring Belichick on. We got him."
-- Rob Ryan on his father, Buddy Ryan
It's the most wonderful time of the year
Congrats to host committees from Atlanta, South Florida and Los Angeles, who this week were each awarded Super Bowls in the next five years. Sweet victory! As you might know, every year NFL Network puts stationary cameras in each of the committee conference rooms to capture reaction footage. And every year we get to revel in the awkward release of joy captured live and beamed to America.
It's probably my favorite non-booze related offseason pastime. We get shouting, hugs, fist pumps, rhythmic movements and, most gloriously, failed attempts at high fives. It's kind of how I imagine the dance floor of one of those corporate retreats where the Eagles get paid millions to play "Hotel California" three times.
Did I mention the failed attempts at high fives? There are always failed attempts at high fives! Check out the guy on the right in the Rams' "war room." He just can't find the energy channel in the room. It flows all around him but he's still left with air. We've all been there, of course, but my only critique is the guy should have pivoted into a secondary celebration as a cover-up. A quick rotation into raising the roof would still be dorky, but it lands you in that energy channel. That's the key.
Until next time ...