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Brash Buddy Ryan had a softer side that few saw

Brash Buddy Ryan had a softer side that few saw

Many people saw Buddy Ryan as only brash and bombastic, an NFL defensive mastermind who got into a fistfight with a fellow assistant coach on the Houston Oilers sideline and allegedly put an on-field bounty on a couple of Dallas Cowboys.

But there was a completely different, far more sensitive side to Ryan, who died Tuesday at age 85.

Ryan, whose sons Rex and Rob are current NFL coaches, spent the latter years of his life caring for his wife, Joanie, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years until her death in 2013.

“She’s a saint,” Ryan told The Times in a 2005 interview at his horse ranch in Shelbyville,...

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