Video of Ryan and his wife Michelle engaging in foot fetish appeared on the internet on Tuesday night, showing the couple engaged in dialogue about Michelle's feet. The Jets head coach does not appear in the video but it appears that he is the man behind the camera and his voice is clearly audible as the camera focuses in on his barefoot wife.
The bizarre video, which last a little over three minutes, includes a barefoot Michelle with her feet hanging out of a parked car and another segment of her drinking what appears to be a beer, once again sock and shoeless, on a sofa in the Ryan's house. The video is supposed to date to the time when Ryan was the Raven defensive coordinator several years ago. The video had been taken down but resurfaced last night.
The Jets head coach refused to comment on the issue on Wednesday during his press conference, tip-toeing around the issue.
"This is a personal matter, I'm not going to discuss it," Ryan said.
Ryan would not confirm whether he made the video or whether his wife is the woman whose feet are the center of the download. He repeatedly called it a "private matter" before a team spokesman stepped in after eight questions from the media about the fetish flick, calling an end to the badgering concerning the video.
Ryan looked glum throughout and perhaps for the first during his tenure as Jets head coach, he was at a loss for words. He denied that team management had stopped supporting him, citing the Jets 10-4 mark heading into this weekend's game. Team owner Woody Johnson was at the facility on Wednesday but Ryan would not comment if he met with management or ownership concerning the issue.
"Woody and I have met with Rex," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement. "This is a personal matter and he has our full support."
The leaking of the video is yet another distraction for a team that has become used to answering questions about things not relating to their play on the field. Just this year alone, the Jets have almost as many distractions as wins.
All told, New York has gone through a preseason long holdout of star player Darrelle Revis which drew national attention, a sexual harassment claim by a Mexican female television personality in September followed just days later by the DWI arrest of Braylon Edwards, claims of harassing texts from former quarterback Brett Favre sent to a former Jets employee, last week's tripping incident involving strength coach Sal Alosi and now "Footsie Gate."
Ryan sees this incident as just a footnote in the team's preparation for Sunday against Chicago. The Jets can march into the playoffs with a win against the NFC North leaders and Ryan is claiming that his foot fetish made known won't distract him from the goal of making consecutive playoff appearances, a feat the team hasn't accomplished since the 2000-2001 seasons. As Ryan ironically stared down nearly a dozen cameras on Wednesday afternoon, he calmly vowed his preparedness for the Bears game.
"I'm ready," Ryan said. "This is my job."