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Rex Ryan defends decision to make IK captain

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Amid a defiant postgame press conference Thursday night, Bills head coach Rex Ryan defended his decision to make IK Enemkpali a captain despite the fact that Enemkpali was cut from the Jets for punching Geno Smith in the jaw during training camp.

"The Enemkpali thing, you guys know me better than that," Ryan said. "I've always done that. It would have been a story had I not made him a captain. And you know what? He's not a bad kid. You think that's the first fight that has ever happened in an NFL locker room? Every single team has had fights in their locker room, OK? You don't think he thinks about that every single day? But he's on our football team and I'm proud of him."

Ryan is right. His track record of making players captains against their former team is pretty defined. Enemkpali was booed on his way out for the coin toss, but other than the momentary display of support for Smith, the game went off without a hitch.

Enemkpali played 16 defensive snaps but did not register a tackle. He was not available to reporters after the game. Smith also declined comment.

This is a classic example of how Ryan endears himself to his players. He doesn't care if he's hated by every other team and fanbase. Signing Enemkpali and then defending him relentlessly makes his locker room feel like a protected space and makes it seem like it's Buffalo against the world.

None of this is new, though. Over five years in New York, Ryan did the exact same thing. The playbook is well defined, which is why we should have expected Enemkpali coming out for the coin toss all along.

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