Ryan's response to Dungy criticism: 'I'm a good person'

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan wants Tony Dungy to know he's more than just a foul-mouthed coach.

Dungy criticized the New York Jets coach earlier this week for his Rex-pletive-filled appearance on the premiere episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks."

"The thing is, I've been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I'm sure a lot of people are," Ryan said Wednesday. "I felt that he unfairly judged me, and that was disappointing to me."

Dungy, a devout Christian, said Monday on "The Dan Patrick Show" that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should talk to Ryan about his excessive cursing because, "I just don't think the league needs that." Dungy, who won a Super Bowl championship with the Indianapolis Colts, is an NFL analyst for NBC.

Ryan said he called Dungy and left a message that included his telephone number, and the coach anticipated hearing back from him.

"I've invited him to come to camp or any time to spend the day with me and the organization," Ryan said. "I think maybe he'll have a different take on it."

Ryan said last week he only cared that he disappointed his mother, Doris, but apologized if he offended "more people than I usually offend."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said there is no chat planned between Goodell and Ryan.

"No, Rex's mother delivered the message," Aiello told The Associated Press.

Ryan was asked if he was surprised Dungy suggested that the commissioner get involved.

"I think I was more surprised that he judged me," Ryan said.

Ryan was criticized by some fans and media for what they believed was an excessive use of profanity during the show, which first airs at 10 p.m. EDT on Wednesdays. The five-part "Hard Knocks" series chronicles the team through training camp.

In the premiere, Ryan is shown using profanity during a team meeting and while talking to players and coaches. HBO posts warnings to viewers about the language contained in the program, and replays have profanity bleeped out during the day.

Ryan also reiterated Wednesday that he will always be himself -- colorful language and all.

"I'm a good person," Ryan said. "Just because somebody cusses or whatever doesn't make them a bad person. Just because a guy doesn't cuss doesn't make him a good person. So, I'll stand by my merits."

Ryan said he had "no idea" if there would be less profanity in the second episode. Then he was informed that HBO's preview indicated sharp-tongued special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff would be featured.

"Then," Ryan said with a grin, "there could be more."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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