Rex Ryan told two stories in yesterday’s press conference that demonstrate the respect he has for Mike Tomlin, and why the Jets are dialling down the rhetoric for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.Both stories came from a 2007 game between the Ravens and Steelers, when Ryan was defensive coordinator for Baltimore. Pittsburgh led 35-7 at halftime, but instead of running the score up further, Ryan says they ran the ball on nearly every play in the second half. (The final score was 38-7.)
Later in that same game, a fullback on the sidelines was taunting Jets linebacker Bart Scott, who dared the fullback to come back into the game. Tomlin, who overheard the jawing, sent the fullback on the field and called an isolation playing require him to block Scott one-on-one. According to Ryan, Scott separated the fullback’s shoulder on the play.
Great story, but did it really happen?
Well, the Steelers had two fullbacks in 2007. One was veteran Dan Kreider and the other was Carey Davis. A quick search for either of their names, plus “separated shoulder” turns up no relevant hits.
Kreider played limited minutes that year, until suffering a season-ending ACL injury against Miami, two weeks after the Baltimore game.
Davis played every game that season and not only does he not appear to have been injured against the Ravens, he carried the ball three times on Pittsburgh’s final drive. Perhaps Tomlin did give him the ball in response to the trash talking, but Scott did not injure him.
Oh, and Steelers continued to throw the ball well into the fourth quarter, even after Ben Roethlisberger was injured and turned the game over to Charlie Batch.
We’re not saying Ryan’s a liar. Memory is a fuzzy thing and there’s no reason to doubt that he and Tomlin do have tremendous respect for each other. But like all war stories, this one appears to have been embellished for effect.
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