BOSTON -- Adalius Thomas loves to joke around, just like the brash defensive coordinator he played for with the Ravens.
"It's funny," he said Thursday, his usual wide smile creasing his face. "It's something that you normally don't see in the media in June, so it's something you (reporters) really jump all over and really go from New York to Miami and then come here with it and expect me to pour gas on it.
"No," he said with a laugh, "no thank you."
After Ryan expressed confidence in his team during organized team activities, Crowder said sarcastically that Ryan must be excited because he's a first-time head coach and that he won the OTA Super Bowl.
"I don't know this Channing Crowder," Ryan said without being prompted. "All I know is that he's all tatted up, so I guess I ought to be nervous about him."
Crowder responded: "If he wants to be prepared, shouldn't he know the starting middle linebackers of his division rival?"
Belichick, typically, refused to be baited by Ryan's comments.
"I have a lot of respect for Rex," he said Wednesday. "We've always had great battles with the Jets, so I'm sure that will continue. It's a good rivalry."
On Thursday, Thomas joked about the offseason antics some six weeks before training camp even starts.
"It was funny," he told reporters who rarely get sidesplitting one-liners from Belichick. "I mean, it's Rex. So it was funny. You guys aren't used to it, though."
Some of Ryan may have rubbed off on Thomas. On and off the field, the Patriot can be lighthearted.
"He's kind of a jokester on the team, but when you do make a mistake or if he sees something that he can help you out with, he'll definitely help you out," second-year cornerback Terrence Wheatley said. "Pretty much whatever he feels like saying, he's going to say."
The players practice but don't wear pads in the non-contact drills.
So when the new head coach of a team that already has an intense rivalry with the Patriots said, "I'm not going to concede anything" to Belichick, and that same new coach spars verbally with Crowder, he becomes a topic of conversation.
"That's between him and Crowder, or whatever the guy's name is," Thomas said. "I think you guys are just enjoying it right now. You have nothing else to cover and so I think you're all just really taking something and really jumping all over it."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press