The ink is staying, says Jets head coach Rex Ryan of his now infamous tattoo.
Ryan was photographed shirtless last week on vacation, revealing a tattoo on his upper right arm of his wife Michelle wearing nothing except a Mark Sanchez No. 6 jersey. The tattoo was inked on Ryan following the 2010 season, and he appears to have no plan to get it removed despite the recent flap.
“I know what you’re thinking — if Sanchez doesn’t play better, that number’s changing. That’s pretty much a given,” Ryan said with a laugh.
Despite the joke from Ryan on the tattoo, he still very much has the support of the team’s ownership. Woody Johnson waxed eloquent about his head coach, even calling him “sophisticated” during the press conference. Ryan called it “a new beginning.”
Johnson was emotionless during the question about Ryan’s tattoo, but showed plenty of passion when talking about his head coach.
“I think Rex has the rare ability as a leader, his specific skill on defense and how he’s able to do that,” Johnson said. “And also on offense and special teams because he’s had to fight against those so he’s learned a lot. He’s got great instinct. We’re going to move forward and make some changes.”
The season-ending press conference marked the first time Ryan has addressed the tattoo and he artfully spun it toward his devotion to his wife. It was reminiscent of two years ago when a foot-fetish video surfaced of a woman alleged to be his wife and the voice of a man who sounded like Ryan.
“I’ve been married 25 years, and in my eyes, my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world,” Ryan said.
Gang Green notes
» Reports have indicated that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is being considered for the same position with the Bills. Ryan said the team is looking for two coordinators this offseason, with neither Pettine nor offensive coordinator Tony Sparano coming back for next season.
Pettine was the surprise move given his close ties to the Jets head coach, dating back to Ryan’s time as a defensive coordinator with the Ravens. He joined the Jets in 2009 and was previously on Ryan’s defensive staff in Baltimore as an outside linebacker’s coach.
“We had some great candid conversations. I’m not going to share our conversations specifically but Mike Pettine is a guy I have a ton of respect for,” Ryan said. “We shared 10 years together.”
The Jets will reportedly promote current defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman to defensive coordinator.
» While he was upbeat and perhaps even a bit fiery, Ryan would not make Super Bowl predictions. He focused more on the baby steps needed to turn a 6-10 team into a playoff contender once again.
“We’re going to be a dangerous football team. I don’t know how many wins; I can’t tell you,” Ryan said. “But you won’t want to play the New York Jets.”
»Ben Kotwica has replaced Mike Westhoff as special teams coach. Westhoff announced prior to the season he would be retiring.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for all your offseason news.