Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan rips "slow and stiff" Rob Gronkowski in harsh Patriots critique

Rex Ryan rips "slow and stiff" Rob Gronkowski in harsh Patriots critique

The New England Patriots are giving their critics plenty of material to work with.

The Patriots suffered their second consecutive loss Sunday, falling 17-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a defeat that put their Super Bowl aspirations in serious jeopardy.

So, does Sunday's loss prove New England is headed for an early postseason exit? Former NFL head coach and bitter Patriots rival-turned-ESPN analyst Rex Ryan believes so.

Ryan had particularly strong words for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who in Ryan's eyes is nowhere close to the player he used to be.

"You look at Gronkowski, I mean, he's running with a piano on his back," Ryan said on ESPN's "Get Up!" morning show. "He's not healthy."

The former New York Jets coach expanded on his critique of Gronkowski earlier in the show.

"I've been saying it forever: They look older and they look slower to me," Ryan said. "And I tell you what: Gronkowski, he must really be hurt.

"Number one, he looked gassed. Why? Because you're not practicing. And then the other thing is, he looks slow and stiff to me. They've got to get him back."

The 29-year-old tight end had another quiet game Sunday, catching just two passes for 21 yards on five targets. Two of those targets came on the Patriots' final drive, when quarterback Tom Brady tried to force the ball to Gronkowski in the end zone to no avail.

Brady also didn't escape Ryan's criticism.

"I don't know what's going on with Tom," Ryan said. "Now look, he's still about as good as it gets. But he's not as good as he's been, and I think you can say that for a lot of these Patriots."

Pundits predicting the Patriots' demise is an annual occurrence at this point, but New England is in more dire straits this year than in years past.

Whether Brady and Co. can make Ryan eat his words remains to be seen.

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Matt Light tells Toucher & Rich the great story of the genesis of Wes Welker's famous press conference using foot references when talking about Rex Ryan's Jets that resulted in missing a series during a playoff game.

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Rex Ryan won't coach in 2017: 'I'm tired of getting [bleeped]'

Rex Ryan won't coach in 2017: 'I'm tired of getting [bleeped]'

After eight seasons as a head coach, Rex Ryan plans to spend 2017 as a television analyst because "I'm tired of getting f---ed."

"Unless it's a real situation [as a coach], there's no sense of getting into it again," he told the New York Daily News in his first interview since being fired by the Bills on Dec. 27.

Ryan -- who has three years left on his five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Bills -- will work for ESPN during Super Bowl week, and reportedly has been contacted by CBS, Fox and the NFL Network about working for them next season.

"I'm really not that bitter [about being fired] and maybe that $15 million [remaining on the deal] is one of the reasons," Ryan told the Daily News. "I'm not bitter, man . . .

"Yeah, I'm hurt. I was hurt by it. There's no question. But bitter ain't how I feel. I'm like, 'Shoot, if they never wanted me here, then fine. I ain't here. I'm not your coach anymore. Fine and dandy.'"

Maybe he's not bitter, but one of the first things he did was strip his pickup trick of its red-and-blue theme (those are Buffalo's colors) and replace the Bills' logos with Clemson logos.

"I stripped that damn truck the day I got fired," Ryan said. "F--- you guys.

Ryan was hired by the Bills in 2015 immediately after his dismissal by the Jets, whom he'd coached from 2009-14. And he seems to feel differently towards Buffalo than he does towards New York.

"I don't wish [the Bills] bad will. I don't. But I don't wish them luck, either," he said. "I'll be honest: I don't wish them good luck. I don't wish them bad luck. I just don't wish them luck.

"I wish the Jets luck."