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Fellow coaches come to the defense of Jets coach Rex Ryan

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – It turns out that Rex Ryan has unlikely allies in the coaching world. 

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin jumped to the defense of the New York Jets head coach on a recent airing of "Coach Speak" on the NFL Network.

In a roundtable discussion hosted by Andrea Kremer, the topic of striking the balance between home life and being a head coach came up. Kremer held up a mounted copy of The New York Daily News from last September with the back page headline “Cutting Out: Rex's college trip on cut day proves he has no power, future with the Jets.” The headline was written after Ryan visited his son in South Carolina to see his first college game at Clemson. His son is a wide receiver on the football team.

His trip fell on the same day as the official cutdown day to the 53-man roster last season and was taken as a sign that Ryan, thought to be on the hot seat and likely to be fired, had lost his mojo in New York.

Before Ryan could respond to Kremer's question, Harbaugh jumped right in with his thoughts.

"That's a joke right there. That's comedy,” Harbaugh said, almost angrily. “That just shows you how ignorant whoever wrote that is.”

“If that's all you got to write about, then you have to re-think your job,” Coughlin interjected.

It was harsh criticism from the roundtable given that at the time, many fans as well as the media thought Ryan was in his last year in New York and the back page coverage by the Daily News wasn't seen as overly harsh. Instead of folding, Ryan's Jets surprised everyone with an 8-8 record and he got a contract extension.

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Ryan, who has drawn heat for everything from crying in front of his team in 2009 when he thought they missed the playoffs during his first season with the Jets to a string of Super Bowl predictions as well as for the now infamous tattoo of his wife in a Mark Sanchez jersey spotted on his arm during a vacation last winter, would not rethink the decision to go to his son's game.

“It was his first college game. It's something I'd do a zillion times over again. What's great is I think there was five other coaches who did the same thing. I'm the only one they singled out for some reason,” Ryan said.

Ryan later added, “But they can write it next year too.”

The New York Daily News countered with their reaction to the 'Coach Speak' segment, even adding that the story that went with the back page piece went so far as to praise Ryan for doing a “terrific job balancing fatherhood and his job in the past.”

Another moment earlier in Ryan's coaching career may have led to the decision to not miss out on his son's first college game.

Ryan recalled being an assistant for his father, the legendary Buddy Ryan, with the Arizona Cardinals and how he chose football over the birth of his oldest son. The Jets head coach stayed at minicamp one year, betting his wife wouldn't give birth during those three days.

It turned out that he was wrong.

“I got that call and I realized how stupid it was that I wasn't there,” Ryan said. “That's my biggest regret in coaching.”

But his second biggest regret? We'll leave that to the comment section below.

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Kristian R. Dyer writes for Metro New York and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KristianRDyer

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