Rex: Pryor reminds me of Tatum

May, 22, 2014
May 22
8:15
PM ET
Discussing Calvin Pryor on the night of the draft, Rex Ryan was asked if the New York Jets' newest safety reminded him of anybody. The coach smiled.

"He reminds me of somebody," he said, "but I don’t want to saddle him with that."

On Wednesday night, Ryan came clean.

Addressing season-ticket holders at a Town Hall meeting in Manhattan, Ryan compared the Jets' first-round pick to one of the most notorious hitters in NFL history.

"He reminds me of Jack Tatum -- an enforcer back there," Ryan told the crowd, according to the team's website. (Print and digital media weren't permitted to cover the event.)

For the younger generation, Tatum -- nicknamed "The Assassin" -- played safety for the Oakland Raiders from 1971 to 1979. He was named one of the hardest hitters in league history (some might call him dirty), employing a style that would make him a heavily fined player in Roger Goodell's NFL. (Side note: Tatum grew up in Passaic, N.J., about 30 minutes from the Jets' facility.)

No doubt, Ryan meant it as a compliment -- he believes Pryor can deliver game-changing hits -- but the last thing the rookie needs is a reputation before he steps on the field. Officials will be watching.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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