FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets were hoping for a quiet few days after last week's headline-making turmoil, but coach Rex Ryan ended any chance of that Wednesday by starting a war of words with San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner.
Ryan, preparing to face the Chargers Sunday at MetLife Stadium, inadvertently took a shot at Turner in a conference call with the San Diego media. Ryan, who interviewed for the Chargers' head coaching position in 2007, was asked how he might have fared if he had been hired instead of Turner.
"Well, I think I would have had a couple of rings," Ryan said with a laugh. "I'm telling you, those teams were loaded. There's no question about it. But things happen for a reason. Obviously, Norv Turner has done a great job there, and A.J. (Smith) and everybody. That's a great franchise, and he's probably the best guy for the job at that time."
Ryan evidently realized his comments could be taken as a slight toward Turner, so he called his counterpart to clarify his remarks, according to a Jets spokesman.
Turner, addressing the situation later Wednesday, fired back at Ryan after confirming that the Jets coach had called.
"I hadn't seen his quote and I was a little bit surprised by the call, and after I saw the quote I didn't have the chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed the last couple of years," Turner told reporters in San Diego, taking a blatant shot at Ryan's endless stream of bold predictions.
Ryan predicted a Super Bowl for the Jets as soon as he was hired in 2009, but they haven't made it, losing in the AFC Championship Game for two straight seasons.
Ryan's remarks also could be perceived as an indictment of the talent on his own roster, although it should be noted that he predicted a Super Bowl his first day on the job -- an indication that he felt he's had enough talent to win in New York.
The Chargers have always been known as a team with outstanding talent that underachieves in the postseason. They qualified for the playoffs in Turner's first three seasons, but were eliminated in the AFC title game (2007) and in the divisional round (2008 and 2009). In fact, the Ryan-coached Jets upset the Chargers in 2009, when many felt that Turner had the talent to go to the Super Bowl.
At the time of the interview, Ryan was the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator. He said the San Diego opportunity "opened some doors for me," and he later went on to interview for several other head coaching jobs before being hired by the Jets in 2009.
Ryan has two of Turner's former stars on his roster, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Both came to the Jets in 2009, Cromartie in a trade and Tomlinson after an acrimonious divorce from the Chargers.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.