As New York Jets coach Rex Ryan prepares to become cable's most well-regarded Jersey-based capo since Tony Soprano, he's made some fairly serious lifestyle adjustments. Formerly the rather rotund consumer of up to 7,000 calories per day, Ryan recently underwent lap-band surgery, a procedure which would limit his impressive intake. He looked svelte at the recent Owner's Meetings, and claimed to have no interest in the breakfast spread.
The breaking point may have been the Jets' announcement that they were to be the next team featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" series, which will follow Ryan and his team through training camp. An all-eyes-on reality show, "Hard Knocks" goes everywhere - players and coaches meetings, on the practice field, even in the coach's office when players get cut. While Ryan will no doubt continue to be the same defensive genius and shoot-from-the-hip quotemaster he's always been, he'll now do it healthier, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
As HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg recently said, "We have our Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in Rex Ryan." Ryan didn't seem to disagree. "I probably should've had the surgery maybe a year earlier. I'd be down to about 220 (pounds), and maybe I would get that opportunity to have that romantic scene with Heather Locklear one day."
Ryan recently talked with Paul Burmeister of the NFL Network about the new show, and Ryan's preparation for it. The show premieres August 11, and the coach certainly does look like a guy who's stayed out of the buffet lines of late.
- Rex Ryan