Rex Ryan has been coaching for the last 28 years, 19 of them in the NFL. So it figures he's got plenty of former players around the football landscape.
One of them, Nose Tackle Kelly Gregg, played for Ryan in college at Oklahoma and in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, Ryan convinced then-Ravens head coach Brian Billick to sign Gregg in 2000 after he had been released by the Bengals and the Eagles.
Gregg appeared on The John Murphy Show Monday night and provided a preview of what Bills players might expect under their new head coach:
1. A SHOT OF CONFIDENCE
Gregg says he first noticed how Ryan built up his players' confidence when he arrived on a scene at Oklahoma in 1998.
"We weren't very good at Oklahoma when I was there," Gregg said. "It was his confidence, guys thought they were good and they played really well when they played for Rex. Just the way he's able to motivate guys, that's why I'm such a fan. I never met a guy that played for him that didn't like him."
2. FOCUS ON TECHNIQUE
"One thing about Rex, people see his brash personality, but he's always teaching technique," Gregg told host John Murphy. "I don't care if you're 30 years old or 21, he's going to pound the techniques and the basics with you to be a good fundamental football player."
3. NO STAR TREATMENT FOR STAR PLAYERS
"He treats everybody the same, "according to Gregg. "I remember once we were in Buffalo and Marshawn Lynch went over 100 yards. He had me, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis and he called us out in front of everybody in the meeting. Some defensive coordinators might think, 'well, Ray Lewis, Hall of Famer,' but if Rex wasn't getting his money's worth, he was going to call you out in front of your peers."
4. A CHANCE TO PLAY
"If he thought a guy could play he was going to give you every opportunity," Gregg remembered. "I'll never forget one of my first games; we were playing against the Jets and Center Kevin Mawae. And Rex called me and said 'Don't embarrass me,' in the personnel meetings.' The rest is history. I was able to play for a while."
Gregg said Ryan enjoyed putting the onus on young players to perform when they had to. "When Ray Lewis got hurt," he said, "he went to a young player, Bart Scott, and said, you're replacing a Hall of Famer. We don't need any drop-offs. And obviously, Bart had a great career."
Kelly Gregg retired from the NFL four years ago, finishing up his career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He's now a radio host for 107.7 "The Franchise" in Oklahoma City. But after playing nine years under Rex Ryan, he's ready to root for the Bills now.
"I'm the biggest Buffalo Bills fan now, just because of my man Rex," he said. "Buffalo got them a good one."