"I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings," he told a New York sports radio station.
Now that he's about to be standing in the ring with the mastermind behind New England's three Super Bowls, though, Ryan seems to be toning down his stance a bit.
"I got a great deal of respect for how Belichick plays defense and coaches defense," Ryan told Boston.com on Wednesday. "I've stolen from him in the past. We have a Patriot coverage I stole from him because there are very few guys I really respect in the game on the defensive side of the ball as much as Belichick."
It is likely that Belichick couldn't care less what Rex Ryan thinks about him, but still — will there be any awkward postgame interaction between the two coaches?
"I expect it will just be a normal thing," Ryan told the Web site. "It's going to be funny…. He knows the respect I have for him."
Despite his softer stance, however, Ryan has no regrets about publicly airing his true feelings about Belichick's squad this summer.
"It's how I felt and it's how I feel," he said. "Hey, I'm not his friend on Sunday. I'm going to compete against him. I'm a competitor. I have a great deal of respect for him. I have a great deal of respect for his team, but we're in the win business and we're going to go out and compete and try to win."
In Week 1, the Jets — led by rookie sensation Mark Sanchez — laid a 24-7 beating on the Texans. The Patriots barely squeaked by against the Bills, long considered to be the cannon fodder of the division. Does Ryan think that gives the Jets the advantage when the two teams meet this weekend?
"It's not necessarily about who the better head coach is or who the better quarterback is," he said. "It's about who the better team is that particular day. We expect to win here with the Jets. I don't care if we're playing New England or a Pro Bowl team, we expect to win."
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