(Reuters) - Whether or not the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will be without star quarterback Tom Brady for their first four games next season, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan says he is “not feeling sorry for anybody.”
The division rivals are scheduled to clash in Buffalo in the second week of the season, on Sept. 20, when little-known Jimmy Garoppolo is likely to fill in for a suspended Brady and Ryan will be focused on getting his own team prepared.
”No matter who is there, we’re playing the Patriots Week Two and they’re playing us,“ Ryan told reporters on Wednesday. ”(Coach Bill) Belichick is going to bring his team in and he’s going to have them prepared.
“I’ll promise you I‘m going to have our team prepared as well. That’s really what I think about it. All the particulars and all that stuff, I really haven’t given any thought to it.”
Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League on Monday for his role in ‘Deflategate’ but is hoping to get the ban overturned, or reduced, through an appeal.
Ryan said victory over the Patriots would mean just as much to him whether or not Brady lined up against them.
“You just want to beat ‘em,” said Ryan, who was head coach of the New York Jets from 2009 to 2014 when the Patriots were their main division rivals.
“I don’t care who’s back there. It’s you playing the Patriots ... whoever they have, that’s the way you look at it.”
Asked whether he believed that the Patriots had played fast and loose with the rules over the years, Ryan replied: ”Your job as a coach is to prepare your team to the best of your ability.
“I saw the Patriots as obviously a very capable opponent and that was really how I prepared. There are other things that go in to it as far as anytime you travel to a team you are conscious of leaving playbooks, stuff like that, around.”
The Patriots have been caught trying to gain an edge before and Belichick was fined $500,000 in 2007 for breaking rules regarding videotaping opponent’s signals from the sidelines in what has been dubbed ‘Spygate.’
The Pats were also fined $250,000 and forfeited a first-round draft pick for the transgression.
“Last I looked, it’s still the New England Patriots,” said Ryan. “They won the Super Bowl, right? I don’t care who we play ... this is about us. I‘m not feeling sorry for anybody.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue