FOXBOROUGH --- They may be at opposite ends of the spectrum, as well as the field, as coaches in the AFC East division archrivalry between the Patriots and Jets. But on Tuesday Rex Ryan rose to the defense of his New England nemesis, Bill Belichick, calling criticism of the Patriots coach “absolutely ridiculous” in the aftermath of Rob Gronkowski’s injury in Sunday’s 59-24 victory over the Colts.
Belichick had drawn some criticism for playing his star tight end, who made seven catches for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as a blocker on the kicking squad that attempted a PAT in the fourth quarter of a game that was well in hand.
“I mean, he’s on an extra point and he’s probably done it a zillion times,’’ Ryan, the New York coach, said of Gronkowski, who underwent surgery Monday to repair his fractured left forearm. “He’s probably done it a hundred times this year for the simple fact that’s how many points they score. You never see that. Every single team in the league, I mean, we have [starting left tackle] D’Brickashaw Ferguson there. Whoever the player is, you don’t play the game that way.
“It’s just an unfortunate thing. That’s just a freak deal what happened,’’ Ryan said. “Unfortunately, it’s part of the game. Injuries do happen. I mean, we lost [Darrelle] Revis and [Santonio] Holmes to non-contact injuries.
“It’s just one of those things and it’s unfortunate, obviously.’’