Rex Ryan to Jets: Stop screwing up

Updated: September 23, 2010, 3:22 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Humiliated by the recent conduct of his team, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan scolded his players in a Wednesday morning meeting, telling them it's time to end the frat-house behavior.

"Quite honestly, I'm basically tired of dealing with these issues," Ryan told reporters. "I'm tired of the embarrassment to our owner and this organization. Let's just end it. Let's just stop. However severe or minor, we don't need to be that team."

The latest "embarrassing moment for the organization," as Ryan put it, came with a phone call from general manager Mike Tannenbaum at 6:30 a.m. ET Tuesday. That was when Ryan learned of Braylon Edwards' drunken-driving arrest in Manhattan.

Edwards, who was arraigned Tuesday afternoon, was sitting in the Jets' meeting room Wednesday when Ryan delivered his stern lecture. Later, Edwards practiced with the team, and he will play Sunday night against the Miami Dolphins. His team-imposed penalty is that he won't start, but sources said his playing time won't be significantly less than usual. Ordinarily, he plays almost the entire game.

Edwards' arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated was another black eye for the organization, which made headlines last week with the Ines Sainz controversy; the female reporter from a Mexican TV station was subjected to whistles and catcalls from players in the locker room. The team received a public rebuke from the NFL, which ordered owner Woody Johnson to pay for a league-wide media training program.

Prior to that, the Jets' image took a hit during the "Hard Knocks" TV series, which featured excessive profanity from Ryan and his coaches.

In the offseason, the Jets were criticized for acquiring players with off-the-field issues: cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who currently is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Edwards, too, came with baggage from the Cleveland Browns last season.

Ryan said he strongly disagrees with the perception that the Jets are out of control, saying, "I think we're a very disciplined team." From a football perspective, the Jets didn't support that claim in the season opener, committing 14 penalties in a prime-time loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Even though the Jets rebounded with an impressive win over the New England Patriots in Week 2, Ryan was critical of Edwards, who was flagged for a taunting penalty after a touchdown. Ryan said his receiver acted "selfishly." Some 12 hours later, Edwards was in police custody after his arrest.

While addressing the team, Ryan mentioned his own transgression -- an obscene gesture to a rowdy Miami Dolphins fan while attending a mixed martial arts event in January in Sunrise, Fla. Ryan was fined $50,000 by the team.

"Obviously, that was an embarrassing moment," Ryan said.

Several players said they received Ryan's message, loud and clear.

"He's disappointed," safety Jim Leonhard said. "He gives us a lot of freedom and he expects us to act like professionals. If you're not doing that, he's going to say something. It looks bad on us. It looks bad on the organization."

Cornerback Darrelle Revis suspects other teams -- and fans around the country -- are mocking the Jets.

"It's embarrassing because everybody is pointing fingers at us," he said. "They say, 'What happened now up in New York?' We know things happen, but as players, we have to be more careful. [Edwards] got jammed up. Me, truthfully, I don't think he should've been out that late."

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

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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