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Ryan jokes about punching Pettine in face

8/13/2014

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- It was for a good cause, but Rex Ryan took the opportunity Wednesday to needle his former right-hand man, Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine.

After their final practice in Cortland, the New York Jets accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from the New England Patriots, performing the ritual en masse. With about 500 spectators in attendance, the players and coaches gathered near a fire truck and allowed themselves to be doused with cold water by a hose that sprayed them from atop a crane. Before they got wet, Ryan -- miked up by the team's official website -- issued a challenge to the Browns.

"Let the Browns take a page out of our playbook, if you will," Ryan said on camera.

That, of course, was a reference to PlaybookGate. That was hatched in June, when Pettine said in interview that Ryan once gave a Jets playbook to Alabama coach Nick Saban, who is a close friend of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Pettine, the Jets' defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2012, fueled a controversy by saying he suspects that Saban gave the playbook to Belichick.

It put Ryan in an uncomfortable position, having to answer questions about whether he might have unwittingly spilled company secrets to the enemy. Ryan admitted at the time that he wasn't happy with Pettine and his loose lips. So, yeah, he used the bucket challenge to fire back.

"Of course, I was tweaking Pettine a little bit," Ryan said later. "But all in good spirits."

Ryan noted that he and Pettine got to know O.J. Brigance during their years with the Baltimore Ravens. Brigance, a former player and now a member of the Ravens' front office, is battling ALS.

"We were all together with O.J., and so you know he's going to step up big time, so it'll be good," Ryan said of Pettine. "So, of course, I wanted to tweak him and get him back any chance I get."

After a pause, Ryan smiled and said, "I haven't had a chance to punch him in the face yet, so that'll be the next time."

The Ryan-Pettine relationship, thought to be strained when Pettine made a lateral move to the Buffalo Bills in 2013, was put under the microscope amid PlaybookGate. Ryan hadn't addressed it until Wednesday. He said they're still buds.

"Oh, please, yeah, of course," Ryan said. "Like always. Realistically, it's going to take a lot more than something like that to drive a wedge between us. We're lifelong friends and things like that. I get a little tweak. I had to fire back at him, for sure."

Speaking during the post-practice event, Ryan also nominated his wife, his two dogs, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the Jets' cheerleaders for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Of the cheerleaders, he said, "I think everyone will appreciate that."

General manager John Idzik, who took part in the dousing, nominated "our" friends, the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

"They got what we want," Idzik, a former Seattle executive, said of his former team.