Jets' Ryan recycles his Super Bowl guarantee


Jets' Ryan recycles his Super Bowl guarantee

By TomE. Curran
INDIANAPOLIS - It's Thursday. Time for Rex Ryan to guarantee the Jets will win the Super Bowl. Joe Namath did the same thing more than four decades ago. His guarantee held up and he lives on as a cultural icon. But Rex has bastardized Broadway Joe's artful bombast to the point where A) everyone smiles, nods and says, "That's Rex... and B) he undercuts his team's considerable accomplishments in his first two years as head coach. "This is the year we win the Super Bowl," Ryan proclaimed Thursday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I thought we'd win it my first two years. I guarantee it this year."Ryan makes more promises than a politician. And while it may be harmless bluster and great theater, do you want to get to the point where the words coming from your mouth are discounted? I asked Ryan, "Is there a point when you make guarantees andthey doesn't happen that it will be difficult for people to take it seriously?""I don't care about people taking it seriously," Ryan shot back. "We made it to the AFC Championship two years in a row whenI think people predicted we'd win six games. So, I don't care what people think. I care what our orgainzation believes and what our fans believe. "So, empty promises...I know we got to the same place (the AFC Championship) last year, it might not appear we got better, butI thinkwe got a lot better last year. If we can improve a little bit more, then why not us? We did beat the team with the most wins in the playoffs at their place (New England. We came (to Indianapolis) had a great win against a great team. We're the only team to make the final four the last two years, so why wouldn't I be positive? (Should I say), 'Hey guys, I'll be happy if we're 8-8.' That's the wrong guy standing in front of you."I'm always gonna say the same thing," Ryan concluded. "I believe we can be champs and why wouldn't I believe it. Somebody tell me whyI shouldn't believe that we don't deserve to be champions."Instead of doing that - because the Jets absolutely could win the Super Bowl - I tried to point out that using the word "guarantee"doesn't meanRyan believes his team "can be champs" but that they will be. "I'm not the smartest guy of all time, the sharpest tack," he answered. "Guarantee ... I don't know. I'm just telling you how I feel." Last year, Ryan felt his team was "soon to be champs" as he famously wrote on the side of an ESPN RV. And now, 18 days afteranother Jets-freeSuper Bowl was contested (for the 42nd consecutive season), Ryan's got his Jets winning the Lombardi. The guy is entertaining. And, he's absolutely right, two AFC Championship appearances in his first two seasons as head coach with a just out of the womb quarterback? Amazing coaching job. But try digesting the actual words and imagery Ryan usedThursday when speaking to a guffawing throng of reporters who'd been waiting for Ryan all day. This is how Ryan tried to explain his confidence: "I know the kind of players we have I know the players we're gonna have represent us. This is not something I just believe in. It's not what I want. It's what a whole bunch of people want. From our players, coaches, the entire organization and our fans. Our New York Jets fans want a Super Bowl. I feel it. I sense it. There's no doubt about it. And I think it's my responsibility. The reason I think we're gonna win is we are gonna lock arms and get it done. Players, coaches, fans, we are gonna lock arms. And when we do, we're gonna find a way. And I believe it." They'll win because they "want" it?God only knows why the other 31 teams in the league don'twant to win it, because that's apparently what it takes. And the arm-locking. That should be a helluva photo-op.Bless the man, he puts the entertainment in sports entertainment. And he does stand in stark contrast to his Foxboro counterpart. But this year, he may not find as many faces smiling back at him if he doesn't make good on his promises. Again. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.