Sunday's matchup between the Cowboys and Browns means a lot for both teams. Dallas needs the win to keep creeping up on the Giants. Cleveland needs the win to show new owner Jimmy Haslam some progress.
But it might mean the most for Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who was fired by the Browns following their most recent personnel switchover. Ryan says this game is personal, even though he didn't want to stay.
"Anytime you pour everything into it and apparently management didn't see it as good enough, of course, it's personal," Ryan told Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. "It's not like they asked me to stay. But they should have. But I would have said, 'No.'"
This is so classic "Ryan family." Dude doesn't even want to keep his job (where he worked under Eric Mangini, who went 10-22 with Cleveland) but is 100-percent bitter that he didn't get to turn Cleveland down instead of the other way around.
Though he's quite clear about his feelings with the media, Ryan says that -- "honestly" times a million, you guys! -- he hasn't told his players how much this game means to him.
"Honestly, I am going to say none," Ryan said. "Honestly. Honestly. Honestly, I am going, to say, 'No.' Honestly, I haven't talked about.
"Honestly, I don't know how that got out there. Honestly, I don't know."
Protest too much much? Geez.
"I've addressed a few things," Ryan said, smiling, when Rapoport pressed him about the importance of the game.
Of course, he has. He's a Ryan. They play to every emotion possible and aren't afraid to get players fired up by holding a grudge, however potentially invisible and not actually real said grudge is.
But it's also Ryan's right as a red-blooded American to get angry at a former employer and hope to extract some measure of revenge. It's what we do. He might just be smarter to focus on making sure the Cowboys get the W and close the gap in the NFC East than trying to right some barely justifiable wrong.
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