WHO DIDN'T SEE this coming?

HBO has decided to follow the New York Jets in its "Hard Knocks" series that chronicles life in an NFL training camp.

Bombastic head coach Rex Ryan. Newly signed running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Pretty-boy quarterback Mark Sanchez. Trash-talking linebacker Bart Scott.

What's not to like?

The series, now in its sixth season, will begin Aug. 11. Hourlong episodes will run for 5 weeks until Sept. 8.

"I have to tell you that in all of the years that we've done this, this is the right team at the right time with the right coach, the right transparency, philosophy . . . this is going to be a big hit," HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg told the Associated Press.

Ryan, who got face time as an assistant with Baltimore in the first season of the show in 2001, will look a bit thinner this time around.

"This might have motivated me earlier," said Ryan, who had lap-band surgery a few weeks ago. "I probably should've had the surgery maybe a year earlier. I'd be down to about 220 [pounds], and maybe I would get that opportunity to have that romantic scene with Heather Locklear one day."

Whoa, take it easy big fella. You may be on "Hard Knocks" but we doubt Heather is that "Hard Up."

Remembering the 'Mouth that Roared'

Howard Cosell would have turned 92 yesterday.

For Philadelphians, a Howard story that always comes to mind is the Monday night in November of 1970 when he allegedly had to leave Franklin Field at halftime of an Eagles-Giants game because he was drunk. Cosell maintained that he was sick, not soused. In fact, he later wrote: "By halftime they knew in the truck that something was wrong with me. My voice had become thick, I could not say Philadelphia. If anyone ever looked like an on-camera drunk, I did. Immediately after getting off camera I threw up in the booth - all over [Don] Meredith's cowboys boots."

God, we miss him.

- Tom Mahon