Rob Ryan explains his penalty

December, 14, 2012
12/14/12
2:42
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan drew a bench penalty in last week's Cincinnati Bengals game after he got into a verbal spat with tackle Andre Smith.

Ryan, jokingly, said of the joust with Smith: "I think he was attacking the American Flag. We’re America’s Team and he was attacking America."

Ryan was emotional for the bulk of the Bengals game for obvious reasons. The Cowboys were playing after the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown. Nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter after his car crashed early Saturday morning resulting in Brown's passing.

Tie the death of Brown to the Cowboys battling for a playoff berth as why there was tension on the sidelines.

"I get into the game. I was ready to play that game," Ryan said. "I think we all wanted to fight, even though you’re a coach, I think the whole situation made everybody a little on edge and unfortunately I was a little on too much edge probably. I think in this business there are a lot of fighters and you don’t know how to react emotionally in a situation like that and sometimes, obviously that was the wrong thing to do. I was a little over-excited and I was a little bit more ready to fight I think than probably I should have been."

Ryan was not fined by the league or the Cowboys for the penalty, though it was called on the bench.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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