FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan still expects to win the Lombardi Trophy before the Oscar.
Even if he does show some serious acting chops in his new movie role. After all, the New York Jets coach was cast as a Boston-based lawyer who loves — of all teams — the New England Patriots in an upcoming Adam Sandler film called, "I Hate You, Dad."
"It was funny because it really wasn't a Patriots thing, but my suit, it's pretty obvious it was a New England deal," Ryan said Friday. "It was a lot of fun, but I'm not going to make a guarantee that there's an Oscar coming up. I'm not making that guarantee."
But the bold, brash coach thinks he might have something on Robert De Niro.
"De Niro, Ryan," he said Friday with a big grin, moving both hands up and down. "I don't know. You have to see the movie and let me know what you think."
Ryan was discussing his cameo appearance in the movie, due out next June, when he paused after one question, tilted his head and broke into character.
"You talkin' to me?" he said, trying his best De Niro impression.
Sandler, a big Jets fan, revealed Ryan's role to NFL Network's Rich Eisen for his podcast Thursday. He said Ryan was "loose and funny" about playing "a mammoth Patriots fan" who talks about Bill Belichick and Tom Brady — a detail that was written into the script for the Jets coach.
"When I read it, I was just like, 'Oh, my gosh,'" Ryan said. "But it was great."
He was impressed by how much work it takes to shoot a film, and felt like a player being coached because of the number of times he had to "re-shoot lines."
"It's just his acting side coming out," defensive tackle Sione Pouha said. "I think it would be quite a stretch, but I think Rex could pull it off."
Safety Jim Leonhard thought the role was perfect for his coach.
"Anytime they put an amateur in a movie, they just give them an easy role, something that's natural to them," a joking Leonhard said. "I think it's pretty obvious over the last couple of years, he's proven to be a big Patriots fan and a Tom Brady fan and a (Bill) Belichick fan. So, they just gave him what he knows."
So, it's not a stretch for Ryan to play a Patriots supporter?
"No, he really doesn't have to get out of character very much," Leonhard said, "and I'm pretty sure he's probably Rex Ryan in the movie and didn't even get a fake name."
The news of Ryan's role has drawn mixed reactions from fans who either think it's hilarious or downright sacrilegious.
"I hope it's funny, at least," Leonhard said, keeping a straight face. "Otherwise, he's kind of a sellout for money."
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