Geno Smith rips former coach Rex Ryan, calls him a 'coward'

New York Giants quarterback Geno Smith lashed out at former coach Rex Ryan after Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders, calling Ryan a “coward,” and saying he and his New York Jets teammates saved Ryan’s job in 2013.

Here’s what Smith – who started his first game of the season in place of Eli Manning – told reporters after the game:

“I did see one of my ex-coaches say he wouldn’t want me to be his quarterback,” Smith said. “That really upset me. A guy who we saved his job in 2013. We fought our ass of for him both years. For him to come out and say that shows you how much of a coward he is.”

Geno Smith and Rex Ryan during a Jets game in 2014. (Getty)

Smith clarified that he was referring to Ryan, who now works as an on-air analyst for ESPN.

It’s unclear what comments Smith is referring to. Ryan spoke to the New York Daily News this past week after the Giants decided to bench Manning, but he didn’t say anything particularly inflammatory:

“Good for Geno, but I don’t understand it. Eli Manning has been a hell of a player in this league a long-ass time. He’s one of the most durable guys in the history of the sport and started a million games in a row. He’s why you got all those Super Bowl rings. For him to go out like this is odd. It’s bizarre.


“I’m happy for Geno. He gets another shot. Geno’s a good kid, but at the same time, I hate to see any player that’s really one of the stars of this game be treated like this. I think it’s a slap in the face to a great veteran player. To me, it’s unfortunate. This guy’s given everything to that team. He meant so much to them. They don’t have any of those rings without him.”

In October, Ryan also spoke about Smith: “I don’t think we helped Geno by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “We never added anything that could help him. And he didn’t help himself, either. It was that combination.”

The Jets took Smith in the second round in the 2013 draft while Ryan was the head coach. Smith started 29 games for Ryan over two years – Smith’s first two in the league. Ryan was fired after the 2014 season. Smith signed with the Giants this past offseason.

He wasn’t terrible in his first start in place of Manning, but wasn’t exactly prolific. The comments were not prompted by any question related to Ryan in the postgame news conference. Here’s the video:

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