Aug 152010

August 15 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Gonzalez

There’s only been one episode so far, but this year’s installment of HBO’s Hard Knocks is the best yet. That has everything to do with Rex Ryan.

The Jets’ head coach is the anti-Andy Reid: loud and profane, candid and funny. Rex seems to love the camera almost as much as football and crude jokes. If Buddy’s boy coached in Philly he’d instantly join his father as one of the most interesting characters to come through town in my lifetime.

In honor of the Ryans’ incessant but charming jibber-jabber, Page 2 has compiled a list of the most entertaining Philly sports people in Sports Wit’s limited memory. The people included didn’t necessarily have individual success or even positive impacts on the city or their professions, but they were all, for various reasons, impossible to ignore.

10. Freddie Mitchell. From the crazy poodle hairdo to the fur coat to the self-generated nicknames, The People’s Champ/FredEx never failed to get our attention – even though he often failed to catch passes. If his route running had been half as impressive as his mouth, he’d be in Canton instead of appearing on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker. Maybe the show can set him up with some hands.

9. Shawn Andrews. The Big Kid showed real ability for a while, but toward the end, his true talent was an unmatched gift to produce bad music – particularly freestyles about Olympic swimmers. For a time, the Mohawked former Eagles lineman was also a prolific tweeter – a football Buzz Bissinger in volume, if not in outrage or intellect. Here’s one of his best: “#imnotattracted to women w/ Bird Claw feet . . . Chirp, Chirp, Chirp, Chirp . . . Fly awaaaayy, Fly awaaaay . . . Ahh, Ahh, Ahh,(hawk voice).” Love the Hawk voice. I need to incorporate that into everyday conversations.

8. Charlie Manuel. The homespun witticisms and “what the hells” are great, but the “why don’t you stop by my office” challenge was classic.

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