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Ryan shows wear

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By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / October 6, 2011

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - By the looks of the ill-fitting navy blue blazer with an “HOF’’ patch that Jets coach Rex Ryan wore proudly into his news conference yesterday, it was more DIY (do it yourself) than DKNY.

Asked what he was wearing, Ryan said, “Oh, you noticed.’’

Ryan’s alma mater, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, decided to honor him with induction into its athletic Hall of Fame. Ryan used the opportunity to add to his wardrobe, and made sure to bring the letter he received from the university.

“Any time I got a letter from the office of the president, it’s usually not a good thing,’’ he said.

He proceeded to read it.

“Dear Coach Ryan. Congratulations, you’ve been selected by the athletics Hall of Fame committee to be inducted in the Southwestern Oklahoma State Hall of Fame.’’

Then Ryan offered to make copies.

The method to the midweek madness was linked largely to the Jets’ clash with the Patriots Sunday, and the battle between himself and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“I mean, you’re talking about two Hall of Famers,’’ Ryan said. “Because we know he’s going to have a bust in Canton and all of that - that minor Hall of Fame.

“It boils down to two Hall of Famers butting heads.’’

Ryan had the tale of the tape memorized.

Belichick, he said, was a Hall of Famer at Wesleyan University. Now, Ryan is a Hall of Famer at Southwestern Oklahoma State. Belichick played center and linebacker; Ryan was a defensive end (“I think I could have held my own with him,’’ Ryan said).

He gave Belichick the edge in one category.

“I think he was a lacrosse player,’’ Ryan said. “I have no idea what I’m doing in lacrosse. I do like the idea, though, of hitting people with a stick.’’

Belichick’s three Super Bowl rings as a head coach put him in rarefied air, but since Ryan took over the Jets in 2009, the teams have split four regular-season matchups, and the Jets bounced the Patriots from the playoffs last season.

“Part of it is your coaching staff vs. their coaching staff,’’ Ryan said. “He’s the best coach in football. If it comes down to us, he’s going to win it. I don’t have a problem saying that. I’m not in that class.

“But I’m going to compete. I’m going to give him everything I have, and that’s what we’re doing as a staff as well.’’

Critical comments Quarterback Mark Sanchez was sacked twice and hit 10 times in the Jets’ 34-17 loss to the Ravens last Sunday night, after which wide receiver Santonio Holmes was somewhat critical of the effort to protect the quarterback, but also of Sanchez’s need to get the ball out of his hands faster.

“It starts up front with our big guys, they need to do a better job protecting Mark, and Mark has to do a better job making his reads and getting the ball to playmakers,’’ Holmes said.

Sanchez was asked yesterday about Holmes’s comments, and said that typically those criticisms stay inside the locker room.

“Our player policy is to kind of keep things in-house, so that kind of stuff won’t happen, moving forward that won’t happen,’’ Sanchez said. “We’ve talked about it, and those individual improvements and stuff that happens on a personal level.’’

Holmes, who spoke to the media yesterday after Sanchez, didn’t back off his comments, but said they were intended to be constructive.

“If anybody feels bad about that, then I’m sorry,’’ Holmes said. “But as a captain, that’s my job, to point it out amongst ourselves.’’

No backing down After the Jets absorbed a 45-3 beating from the Patriots in Week 13 last season, cornerback Antonio Cromartie had some choice words for Tom Brady, whom he claimed taunted the Jets sideline with finger pointing.

“I’m not going to change how I feel about Tom Brady and what I said last year,’’ Cromartie said yesterday. “Do I respect him? Yes. He’s a guy that has three Super Bowl rings, but other than that, when we’re on the football field, I don’t really give a damn.’’

At the time, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said he never noticed the taunting, but now says he has seen film.

“I don’t know, if that’s the case, that’s how he felt at the time,’’ Revis said. “Cro feels that he’s an [expletive]. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion how they feel about people.’’

Coming back to Gillette Stadium in January and knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs made it easier to forget.

“It was exciting to beat them, especially at their place,’’ Revis said. “It silenced a lot of critics, their fans.’’

Mangold tests ankle Jets center Nick Mangold, sidelined the last two weeks with a high right ankle sprain, tested the injury yesterday. “I’m much better today than I was yesterday, and yesterday was much better than the day before,’’ Mangold said. “It just keeps getting better.’’ Mangold’s absence has been a big one. Not coincidentally, the Jets have allowed 11 sacks this season. “We’ve said it before, he’s the best center in football,’’ Ryan said.

Burress examined Wide receiver Plaxico Burress had his left elbow looked at by team doctors after it swelled up overnight. “He woke up this morning, his elbow was huge,’’ Ryan said. “He said in a game he fell on it and that was it, but last night, around 3 o’clock in the morning he was like, ‘Oh, what’s going on?’ He feels fine now, but obviously you worry about infection and everything else.’’ . . . In addition to Burress, wide receiver Logan Payne (wrist) and linebackers Garrett McIntyre (concussion) and Calvin Pace (abdomen) missed practice.

Julian Benbow can be reached at

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