Sports

Ryan literally calls for help from Jets fans

FLORHAM PARK, N.J.Pick up the phone! Rex Ryan is calling, and he wants you. The coach of the New York Jets is using a bit of unorthodox strategy for Sunday's game, recording a 70-second message that was sent to every season-ticket holder. His plea is simple: He wants their help in making life "miserable" for Tom Brady and the Patriots. "Isn't that just something Rex would do?" defensive end Mike DeVito said Thursday. "He likes getting everybody riled up. I love stuff like that." "This is definitely a first for me to hear something like that," nose tackle Kris Jenkins said with a big smile. And a first for thousands of fans who either picked up the phone Wednesday and heard Ryan's voice or found the message light blinking on their answering machine. With a big game against the Patriots, coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Brady coming up, the Jets kicked around the idea of having Ryan send a personal message to the faithful. When they mentioned it to him, he jumped at the chance. "Hey, this is Rex Ryan, the head coach of the New York Jets," the message began. "I just wanted to let you know how much we need you this week. You know, I've already admitted that, hey, the Patriots have a better head coach and they've got a better quarterback than us. But we're going to see who's got a better team." It certainly sounded unscripted, with a couple of "uhhs" and pauses sprinkled throughout. "Again, I admit that I'm not as good as Belichick, but at the end of the game, I want to be 1-0 against him," Ryan said at the end. "So, help me out if you don't mind. That's my challenge, OK? Thank you. Bye." Eagles won't rule out McNabbPHILADELPHIA | The Eagles aren't giving up hope of having Donovan McNabb on the field when they play their home opener Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. McNabb made a brief appearance on the practice field Thursday afternoon but did not take part in any drills, after fracturing his rib on a touchdown run late in Philadelphia's 38-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers last weekend. "Donovan is working very hard," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "You know Donovan, he's doing everything in his power to get back out there, make it to this game. He's played with a broken ankle, a broken sternum and all these things. Donovan is a very tough man." If McNabb isn't available, the Eagles will go with Kevin Kolb, the team's second-round draft pick in 2007. Kolb would make his first NFL start ahead of veteran Jeff Garcia, who signed Tuesday as an emergency backup. "If Kevin starts the game, he's our quarterback," Mornhinweg said. "It's that simple. I don't know if I can be anymore clear. I have great confidence in Kevin." Colts' Gonzalez out 2-8 weeksINDIANAPOLIS | Anthony Gonzalez may be out longer than the Colts first feared and they appear to have a replacement for him, too. Coach Jim Caldwell said the third-year receiver could miss up to two months after spraining ligaments in his right knee during Sunday's 14-12 victory over Jacksonville. Indy has signed former Philadelphia receiver Hank Baskett to take Gonzalez's place, and three-time league MVP Peyton Manning hopes he can find his way around the offense fast. The team made the announcement following Thursday's practice. "Hopefully we can catch him up as soon as possible," Manning said. "It's a lot of offense to learn in a couple of days but he's a veteran, so he could help us." The Colts play Miami on Monday night. Around the leagueLawyers for Ben Roethlisberger claim in new court documents that the woman accusing the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback of raping her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino concocted the story in part to try to shield herself from possible layoffs at the resort. ... Jacksonville's home opener has been blacked out for the third time in six years. ... The San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions were given extensions by the NFL on Thursday to sell out their home openers and avoid a television blackout.

... The Philadelphia Eagles will honor former quarterback Randall Cunningham by adding him to the team's honor roll at halftime of their game against the Kansas City Chiefs. ... Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson has been fined $25,000 by the team for the "pay me Rick" shoes he wore during Sunday's game. Robinson was given the fine for conduct detrimental to the team. The shoes targeted general manager Rick Smith. Robinson has been that he and the Texans were unable to reach a long-term contract despite signing his franchise tender more than a week ago. ... Monte Clark, who coached the Detroit Lions for seven years and led them to the playoffs in 1982 and 1983, has died. He was 72. He died Wednesday night at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, the team said Thursday. He had a bone marrow malignancy associated with lung and liver disease. ... Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers was arrested on a drunken-driving charge. Police say the 28-year-old Rogers was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he refused a Breathalyzer test. Results of a blood test are pending.

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