Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine, who previously served as the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator, believes the New England Patriots may have gotten their hands on the Jets’ defensive playbook.
Pettine told Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com that he intentionally keeps his playbooks on the slimmer side in case they end up in the wrong hands.
“I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it,” Pettine said. “We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”
Asked by media at Patriots minicamp about the report, coach Bill Belichick told reporters to “Ask Mike Pettine.”
A steamed Rex Ryan said at the Jets’ final day of minicamp that the suggestion was “ridiculous.”
“(Pettine) needs to learn to be quiet,” Ryan said sternly. “Absolutely.”
Ryan said he didn’t understand what Pettine was getting at in repeatedly beating back questions.
“Everyone needs to talk to Mike Pettine ’cause he’s got all the answers,” Ryan said.
Teams guard their playbooks and players must return them before being cut. Teams can also remotely wipe an iPad if a player digitally uploaded a playbook.
Pettine told TheMMQB.com that at Wes Welker’s wedding, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady bragged to former Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith — who was Welker’s roommate at Texas Tech — about how the Patriots “may or may not have had possession” of a couple of Jets defensive playbooks.
“It didn’t shock me because Rex (Ryan) would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine said. “He gave one out to (Alabama coach Nick) Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill (Belichick) are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”
Belichick was asked if he has ever had a Jets playbook following Thursday’s minicamp session.
“You’ve got to talk to Mike Pettine,” Belichick said, according to The Boston Globe. “I don’t know.”
The long-running rivalry between the Patriots and Jets has intensified since the arrival of Jets coach Rex Ryan in 2009.
The Patriots’ “Spygate” scandal broke in 2007 after New England was caught taping the Jets’ defensive signals.