While speaking with Rex Ryan and his family for my Buffalo News feature on him, I realized there really is no such thing as a bad Ryan quote.
Rex, twin brother Rob, big brother Jim and mother Doris provided so many anecdotes and insight that I couldn't nearly include all the material. Even the outtakes are worthwhile.
So I've packaged some of the best leftover quotes ...
Rex Ryan on the bond with his twin brother, Rob:
"I tell my players, 'I've been in a bunch of fights in my life. Never lost one, but I had my twin brother with me.' If I can get my team to fight like we did as twin brothers, we'll whip everybody."
Rob Ryan on the bond with Rex in college:
"We weren't really individuals. We had each other. When Rex married Michelle, I went out to Western Kentucky and reached for the first mistake I could find. It was a joke. I was trying to replace Rex. I married somebody I shouldn't have and, 10 years later, finally got the right girl."
Doris Ryan on the twins:
"When they learned to climb? Oh, God. Buddy had football pictures all over this rec room that had been added on to the back of the house. They learned to climb up on the cabinet, and I heard them one day, all this smashing of glass and giggling and carrying on."
Jim Ryan on Rex's and Rob's willingness to fight:
Those two mad at you is a sight to behold. I think Rob had about 25 drunk-and-disorderlies in college. One of their best friends was a baseball player, not a big guy. They would go into these small-town, redneck, Oklahoma bars and some drunken idiot would decide to pick on the little guy, not knowing who he was with. Oops!"
Rob Ryan on Rex struggling in class and leaving Oklahoma State to go live in Toronto:
"Well, that sucked. That was weird as hell. Neither one of us knew what the hell we were doing. We were both out of football for the first time [after playing at and transferring from Southwestern Oklahoma State], and I don't think it was good for either one of us. But spring break came up, and we all went back together down to Florida and came back on the bus, eating mustard sandwiches. Rex was back at Oklahoma State the next semester."
Jim Ryan on growing up in Amherst on Meadow Lea Drive while Buddy Ryan was a University at Buffalo assistant:
"I got grounded for crossing Main Street one day. I got the idea to go see my dad, took my dad and crossed that busy street, rode down to the campus and saw him. He saw me and waved and then he did a double take. I got swatted and got grounded for a week."
Doris Ryan on Rex's big personality:
"Rex will always have his little group that doesn't like him and his bravado and all the rest of it. But that's just who he is. He genuinely loves football. He loves the game."
Doris Ryan on her athletic abilities:
"I was in the pep club and all that sort of thing, but I haven't an athletic bone in my body. I'm uncoordinated. ... I took bowling in college and didn't hit a pin. I tried curling when we first moved to Toronto and broke my finger on the rock. Then I took tennis lessons for six weeks. After the six weeks I couldn't throw the ball up in the air and hit it with the racket. But I had the best tennis outfit in the whole place."
Rob Ryan on what it taught him to see Buddy sell his retirement farm when second wife Joanie had to be put in assisted living because of Alzheimer's:
"Eventually, he sold his farm. That's a sad day. No one worked harder or had more of an impact as a defensive coach in the history of football. He also was a great father and husband ... But it was all gone.
"You coach your ass off and do everything you can to lay out the best plans for your future, whenever you do retire you better make plans not just for yourselves, but your kids and whatever. I'm going to coach as hard as I can for as long as I can, but you don't know how much time you got. It goes quick."
Doris Ryan on Rex including her:
"Rex and Rob think I know more than I do because I watch football constantly, but to even think I would know who lines up where ... Rex is so sweet. Before a game whenever I would go up to New York, he would say, 'Mom, let's go over my game plan.' I would look at Micki and roll my eyes."
Rob Ryan on comparing the fun-loving Ryans to the fun-loving Gronkowskis:
"I know the Gronks are better athletes. But I don't think they're better brothers."
Jim Ryan, six years older than the twins, on their pickup games:
"I would play against the both of them. I would throw passes to myself. I think I was 150-0 against them, and they were finally going to beat me. Rob's laughing at me, taunting me as he's running for the winning touchdown, and he runs into a tree, goes down and fumbles. I pick it up and score.
"But then they started to get big. Used to be, when I got tired I could smack one of them, and he'd be hurt for a while. While he was slowed up, I could score. It changed in Minnesota. I went to smack Rex, and he put me on my back. Rob went over me with the ball and made sure he stepped on me."
"We had a different version of football, where one would play quarterback, one would play receiver and one would cover. Then we'd all switch, and whoever scored the most won.
"We pretty much had to cheap shot each other on every play. Rob caught an out route. I nailed him pretty good, and he went over a snow bank, slid onto the icy road into a moving car.
"The lady got out of the car, 'Oh, my God!' Her hands were to her face. We said, 'All right, second down.'
"So we had to implement the you-can't-push-a-guy-into-a-moving-car rule. Other than that, pretty much anything went."