Rex Ryan to Dungy: Don't judge me

Updated: August 18, 2010, 7:14 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The New York Jets used to be considered a cursed franchise. Now they're a franchise that curses.

Coach Rex Ryan, criticized by Tony Dungy for using profanity on camera, fired back Wednesday -- sans expletives -- claiming the coach-turned-analyst should watch his own mouth.

Ryan I've been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I'm sure a lot of people are, but he unfairly judged me, and that was disappointing to me.

-- Rex Ryan

"I've been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I'm sure a lot of people are, but he unfairly judged me, and that was disappointing to me," said Ryan, who dropped at least 10 F-bombs in last week's debut of HBO's "Hard Knocks."

Ryan, clearly bothered by Dungy's comments, said he called the former Colts and Buccaneers coach and left a message, inviting him to spend time with the Jets. Ryan said he anticipates a return call.

"Maybe he'll have a different take on it," Ryan said.

Outspoken linebacker Bart Scott came to his coach's defense, claiming Dungy should mind his own business and turn the channel if he takes exception to Ryan's salty style.

"If you don't want your kids to see Andrew Dice Clay or Bernie Mac, tell them to go see Bill Cosby," Scott told ESPNNewYork.com. "You can't suggest for somebody to tone it down or say, 'He wouldn't coach for me' and 'I wouldn't hire him.' Why are you farming someone else's land? Farm your own land."

Ryan was somewhat sheepish the day after the show aired, admitting he received an earful from his mother. But he didn't apologize for his profanity, saying he was just being himself.

Dungy, an NBC analyst, jumped into the controversy Monday, appearing on Dan Patrick's radio show. Dungy admitted he didn't watch the show, but he was "disappointed with all the profanity ... I don't want to be around that. If I were in charge, I wouldn't hire someone like that."

Dungy went so far as to suggest that commissioner Roger Goodell should get involved. Asked if Goodell will look into the matter, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail, "No. Rex's mother delivered the message."

Ryan defended his coaching style. That he made the effort to call Dungy shows the comments touched a nerve.

"I'm always going to be myself and I'm a good person," Ryan said. "Just because somebody cusses doesn't make him a bad person. Just because a guy doesn't cuss doesn't make him a good person. I'll stand by my merits."

Ryan's outspoken father, Buddy, joined the fray, telling a Philadelphia radio station that it's "none of Dungy's business."

Since last week's show, which showed Ryan using profanity in a team meeting on the first night of training camp, the coach has cursed less frequently behind closed doors, according to team sources. There was a funny moment in a recent team meeting, one source said. There was a technical glitch during a film session, prompting one of the players to curse -- jokingly -- at the technician.

To which Ryan responded, "Careful, we don't want to offend anybody." The room busted out laughing.

Ryan is the leader of the Jets' F (Bomb) Troop, and the players appreciate his locker-room personality.

"This is Rex 24/7," Scott said. "How do you go ask the commissioner to tell Rex to tone it down? Rex is a grown man. Freedom of speech. If you don't like the way he talks, don't turn on the TV."

The second episode airs Wednesday night.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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