Rex Ryan fires back at WVU after leadership comments

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Someone may have insulted Geno Smith and Rex Ryan isn't happy about it.

He didn't quite go to Terrell Owens "that's my quarterback" levels, but Rex Ryan publicly defended Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who may or may not have been the criticized by some of his former teammates at West Virginia.

A few current Mountaineers recently said the 2012 WVU team lacked leadership and had selfish players. Although the players didn't mention Smith -- or any player by name -- some automatically assumed they must be referring to Smith since he was the quarterback and quarterbacks are supposed to be leaders.

"Last year we didn't have, you know, a lot of leadership," WVU running back Dustin Garrison said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

West Virginia offensive lineman Quinton Spain gave an even harsher review of the 2012 squad, once again not directing any of his comments at Smith.

"What's different this year is we're more a team," Spain said. "There ain't no I's; we don't depend on nobody. We just depend on all of us at once as a team. So I think this year will be better than last year. There wasn't no team. I could say there was a team early, but once we started losing we saw the I's come up, so it just hurt the team worse."

Smith wasn't the only high-profile player who's since departed from that West Virginia team. First-round pick Tavon Austin and third-rounder Stedman Bailey were also in the spotlight for the Mountaineers last season. Regardless, Ryan apparently took offense to what the players had to say.

"I don't get that. Geno was a tremendous player for West Virginia," Ryan said, via ESPN.com. "I don't know, you have to ask them. I certainly don't get that. When somebody leaves your [school] ... I guess that's up to them. You have to ask them."

Ryan was so put off by the comments, he said he was glad his son didn't decide to suit up for the Mountaineers.

"It tells me I'm glad my kid never went there, I can tell you that much," Ryan said.

While we'll likely never know if the players' comments were in fact shots at Smith, they aren't exactly different than what most players at schools coming off a rough year are saying. Every year a team is closer, has better leaders, etc. Washington State's Connor Halliday said this year's team is the "closest group" he's been apart of at WSU. Is Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone going to publicly defend Jeff Tuel, who was the Cougars quarterback last year?

Smith wasn't made available to the media and is yet to speak about the comments.

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