Chicago Sun-Times

Ryan, Sanu will set aside friend­ship

- Lorenzo Reyes and Lind­say H. Jones @ Loren­zoGReyes, @ bylind­say­hjones Jones re­ported from Flow­ery Branch, Ga.

FOXBOR­OUGH, MASS. Af­ter the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots won the AFC Cham­pi­onship Game, cor­ner­back Logan Ryan sent his for­mer room­mate a text mes­sage.

“I gave him the lit­tle emoji with the two eyes,” Ryan told re­porters. “And he gave me the emoji with the two eyes back, so that’s all that has been said.”

Ryan used to live with wide re­ceiver Mo­hamed Sanu, one of the At­lanta Fal­cons whom the Pa­tri­ots will face on Feb. 5 in Su­per Bowl LI.

Sanu and Ryan spent two years to­gether in a dorm when they played at Rut­gers. They were in sep­a­rate bed­rooms but shared space in a four- per­son suite.

“We al­ways had a good time when we were around each other,” Sanu said. “He’s one of those hard work­ers. We al­ways pushed each other. Our lock­ers were right next to each other in the locker room, and we com­peted in ev­ery­thing.”

Sanu and Ryan might get that chance one more time.

In the AFC ti­tle vic­tory against the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers, the Pa­tri­ots opted to have cor­ner Mal­colm But­ler shadow star re­ceiver An­to­nio Brown, with safety help over the top on most plays. Since At­lanta fea­tures all- pro re­ceiver Julio Jones, whom New Eng­land de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Pa­tri­cia called “prob­a­bly just one of the most dy­namic play­ers in the league,” the Pa­tri­ots could em­ploy a sim­i­lar strat­egy in the Su­per Bowl with But­ler trail­ing Jones.

That could leave a lot of matchups be­tween Sanu and Ryan.

“He’s very pa­tient,” Sanu said of Ryan. “He knows what your ten­den­cies are. He stud­ies a lot of film. You’ve got to study just as much as him.”

Sanu caught 59 passes for 653 yards and four touch­downs in his first sea­son with the Fal­cons and has added 96 yards and two more scores on nine catches in two post­sea­son games.

Ryan, mean­while, posted 92 tackles, one sack, one forced fum­ble, 11 passes de­fended and two in­ter­cep­tions in 2016 and has added 16 more tackles, one sack, four pass break- ups and one in­ter­cep­tion in two play­off games.

Sanu was orig­i­nally re­cruited to Rut­gers as a safety but was later moved to re­ceiver. Once he switched to of­fense, he and Ryan reg­u­larly com­peted in prac­tice.

“He’s a great guy,” Ryan said. “Our friend­ship is our friend­ship, but I think we’re both com­peti­tors on the field, and we com­peted hard at Rut­gers, re­gard­less of whether we were friends.

“That’s how it’s going to be on Sun­day. When­ever I’m on him — if I am — I’m going to try my best and do what I need to do for our teams. And at the end, we’ll shake hands, for sure.”

 ?? BOB DECHIARA, USA TO­DAY SPORTS ?? Pa­tri­ots cor­ner­back Logan Ryan, above, and Fal­cons wide­out Mo­hamed Sanu were room­mates at Rut­gers.
BOB DECHIARA, USA TO­DAY SPORTS Pa­tri­ots cor­ner­back Logan Ryan, above, and Fal­cons wide­out Mo­hamed Sanu were room­mates at Rut­gers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA