Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jets Deflect Off-the-Field Distractions

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jets Deflect Off-the-Field Distractions

Article excerpt

FLORHAM PARK -- Rex Ryan stood behind the lectern, swiveling his head from side to side searching for help.

For once, he was speechless.

Just 48 hours remained before the Jets opened their season with Oakland. The coach had just acknowledged that he will start a converted safety and a career backup at cornerback with Dee Milliner sidelined.

Yet Ryan found himself confronted with questions Friday about his backup quarterback, Michael Vick, and the intrigue surrounding his weekly radio spot that apparently will not happen. And Ryan fielded questions about his new $36.25 million receiver, Eric Decker, who was called out Wednesday by ESPN's Mark Schlereth for being what the analyst described as an overrated crybaby.

Ryan was apoplectic.

"My thought is I've got a game with the Raiders coming up, so I haven't really thought about somebody doing a [radio] spot with somebody," he said. "Guess how much I've thought about it or was aware of it: That would be zero."

In recent years, the Jets have created their own circus-like atmosphere -- see Tebow, Tim; the Butt Fumble; and Ryan's Mark Sanchez jersey tattoo. But Friday, they were stamping out two mini- dramas as their first game neared.

Decker, 27, took the high road with Schlereth, declaring, "I'm going to let my talking be on the field. ... I'm not going to get into a little battle of who says what or how he feels about what. Let's just move on."

And Vick decided he will appear on Mike Francesa's WFAN radio show Tuesday -- but maybe not as a weekly guest as originally thought. It would have been unusual if he did, given he is the backup.

Still the sideshows overshadowed the Jets' decimated cornerback position as the team hosts rookie quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders.

Milliner is out with a high left ankle sprain. Converted safety Antonio Allen will make his first NFL start at cornerback after playing safety his first two seasons. …

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