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Jets Journal

Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

Archive for May, 2009

Baby boy

May
29

Jets QB Kellen Clemens welcomed a baby boy today, Grant Michael, 9.8 pounds and 22 inches. That’s a big baby, but not quite ready for pads. Yesterday Clemens ran off the field at the end of practice when he got word his wife was in labor.

That’s a linebacker from a quarterback.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
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I’m with Bob

May
29

Bob Glauber wrote a solid column for Newsday today about Thomas Jones and his contract with the Jets. The running back is slotted to make $900,000 in base pay this year. That would be for me like winning the lottery, but Jones will be looking for another line of work in five years or so and his production has earned him more compensation than that.

Last year the running game was solid. This season Rex Ryan wants to run the ball. Those are strong enough reasons to try to get deals with Jones and Leon Washington done.

I gave my take on Thomas Jones way back on April 18. Rather than tell you what a genius I am, I will merely give an excerpt of that post.

(Mike) Tannenbaum was asked about Jones and made the ridiculous argument that he was happy with the running backs here, including Jehuu Caulcrick, Marcus Mason and Danny Woodhead. No disrespect to those guys, but Jets coach Rex Ryan wants to run the ball, and they are unproven in the day-to-day role.

The last two seasons, the Jets have had holdouts in C Pete Kendall and TE Chris Baker. The first time, losing Kendall contributed to a blown season. Last year the Jets came to terms with Baker but only after so much ill will had built up that Baker felt pretty alienated even though he was frequently used. He went to the Patriots soon after the last game of the year.

The Jets should avoid that with Jones.

Making the laughable argument that he is a replaceable cog in the Jets machine just makes all the other statements Tannenbaum makes ring hollow. Mason, huh? And I see you claim to like the in-house quarterbacks, too.

(Translation: Watch for Mark Sanchez in the first round.)”

p.s. Mason was cut the week after the draft.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, May 29th, 2009 at 11:38 am |
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Practice notes

May
28

“Welcome back Eddie George!”

That’s how Damien Woody greeted running back Thomas Jones when he returned to the team on Wednesday, for his first OTA of the year. Jones might have been missing because he was unhappy with his contract, but it will be another week before we can ask him.

Jones did not come into the locker room after practice to face questions on his absence, or his return. Mark Sanchez said it was nice to finally be on the field with Jones, who he described as “all rocked up,” which is why Woody compared him to George.

Jets coach Rex Ryan joked that Jones, “reminds me of myself, the way that he’s built.”

“Thomas told me he’s happy to be here, and I’m certainly happy he’s here,” Ryan said.

Kerry Rhodes, however did talk in the locker room. Over the weekend a woman alleged she was raped at Rhodes’ home in New Jersey, although the prosecutor in the case came out and emphatically said Rhodes is not a suspect in the investigation.

Rhodes answered most questions by saying that it was a legal matter and he couldn’t comment. He used the phrase, “It’s pending legal matter, and I can’t talk about it,” over and over, but toward the end said a little more. Dan Leberfeld, Mark Cannizzaro and I are the interrogators here.

0528kerryrhodes

David Harris
was on the sidelines when Jim Leonhard came running over in search of a punt. Leonhard’s helmet impacted Harris’ mouth, although Ryan said they were able to save Harris’ teeth.

Kellen Clemens looked good early but had several interceptions later in practice before leaving early after hearing his wife went in to labor. He missed Sanchez’ red zone touchdown pass to Jack Simmons, easily the highlight of the day for the rookie QB.

“It was important,” Sanchez said. “During the first special categories period, I missed Dustin (Keller) wide open. He ran a great route, I made the right read, but my footwork was off.  It’s important as a rookie to keep all of those things on the same page, get it all right, and then make it happen.  That one miscue on the footwork really threw off our timing, it was totally my fault, he ran a good route.  To finish the way we did (throwing a touchdown at the end of practice) makes up for a lot and it helps. It’s a good way to end the week, but there’s a lot to learn from today so I will study that.”

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Jay Feely, who had his son with him today, called this OTA for the defense as well, which seems to be a theme.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
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Tweets from Practice

May
28

Here I am attempting to get my Twitter posts (I’m Janesports if you want to follow me) to synch with the blog. I’ll be on the sidelines with updates this morning.


  • “Thomas told me he’s happy to be here and I’m certainly happy he’s here,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. #nfl

  • Jets coach Rex Ryan says David Harris did NOT lose teeth, but took Jim Leonard’s helmet to the mouth when Harris was on the sidelines. #NFL

  • Sanchez has not yet signed. RT SoxJetsFan@janesports jane, sorry if I just missed the information, but is sanchez signed yet?

  • No Thomas Jones I’m the Locker room for comment. Kerry Rhodes gave a lot of no comments. #NFL

  • @nnej486 I do have a blog! Http://jets.lohudblogs.com and I write for The Journal News.

  • Kellen went to the hospital with his expectant wife, may have good news on that later. Harris never returned to the field & not in LR #NFL

  • Kellen ran off the field about 15 mins. before practice ended. His wife is expecting, but will see what the reason is when we get in. #NFL

  • Sanchez ended on a high note. This Jets OTA is over. #NFL

  • Sanchez gets it done in the red with a high pass over the D and into Jack Simmons’ hands for a TD in 11s. #NFL

  • Sanchez just intercepted by Marquice Cole. #NFL

  • 11on11 Despite in INT by Revis, Clemens looks better than Sanchez. After incomplete to Clowney, Sanchez gets some route correction. #NFL

  • Sanchez bright spot TD to Danny Woodhead. Kellen looks good w/ 20yd arcing TD pass to Cotchery. Sanchez picked by Coleman. #NFL

  • @scottd1978 & all those asking about Harris, he isn’t back on the field but didn’t appear badly hurt.

  • Brad Smith makes a great catch from Clemens in double coverage. Jones drops a short lateral, but recovers with two more short catches. #NFL

  • Thomas Jones is wearing a sleeveless shirt and he has not slacked off in the weight room. #NFL (the fans are an invited school group.)

  • No Leon Washington on the field for this OTA either, although Kerry Rhodes is here and was joking with fans. #NFL

  • LB David Harris was run into on the sidelines by S Jim Leonhard, who was fielding a punt. Harris walked off with a trainer. #NFL

  • Thomas Jones playing catch in end zone while special teams practice on the field. #NFL

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 8:32 am |
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Martrez Milner to Jets

May
27

The Jets were awarded former Giants TE Martrez Milner off waivers, and in exchange waived OL Kyle Link and TE Rob Myers. Both of the waived players were signed as UFAs on May 1.

Milner was drafted by the Falcons in 2007 and played there for a season (9 catches for 50 yards). After two games in 2008 he was picked off waivers by the Giants for the practice squad. The Giants waived Milner on May 21. He played college ball for Georgia.

In other news, CB Ty Law will be the in-studio analyst for NFL Total Access this Monday and Tuesday on the NFL Network. Law, you may remember, spent the most miserable portion of the season with the Jets last year.

The Jets also renewed their deal with 1050 ESPN radio in New York for an additional four years.

And lest you think we missed the Thomas Jones reunion, keep scrolling down to the post on his return.

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
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Hollywood’s trailer

May
27

The trailer for Kerry Rhodes’ new movie, Misunderstandings, is on YouTube. Can I just say, it’s a bad sign when one of the producers only uses a last initial?

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
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Jones back with Jets

May
27

Thomas Jones was on the field in his No. 20 white Jets jersey today, a week after his agent Drew Rosenhaus posted on Twitter that the running back would return. Jones had not been attending the voluntary workouts or previous OTAs.

The other Jets RB, Leon Washington, has been missing since last week. Both players have been trying to get restructured deals with the Jets, so far unsuccessfully.

The Jets drafted Shonn Green out of Iowa in the third round of the draft, and at 5-foot-11 and 227 pounds, he has the size and style that Jones used with success last season as the AFC’s leading rusher.

Tomorrow’s OTA will be open to the media, and I will have quotes and audio from Jones, if he speaks, right here.

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 at 11:56 am |
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There’s more to Slauson

May
26

Matt Slauson brings the drama. The 6-foot-5, 316-pound offensive guard was taken in the sixth round of the draft this year, and is known for using eye black like war paint on game day in Nebraska.

But he comes from a family so tight-knit it could seem like something out of pioneer lore, where each of the parts fits together and makes the other whole.

Growing up in Oregon, Slauson watched as his older brothers, Chris and Nick, twins, set records at the state swimming meet. Chris went on to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, but Nick’s victory was more poignant given the fact that an injury to his brain at birth forever changed his path.

“He’s a great inspiration to me,” Matt said. “All his teachers said he’d never be able to go to school or have a job.”

Instead, Nick was setting marks in varsity competition for Sweet Home High School. Matt first noticed the void when Chris went to college. Things just weren’t right with Nick home and Chris away and so busy he didn’t have much time for visits a plane ride away.

His dad Rob and mother Nancy, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years earlier, decided to look for work in Colorado, and when Rob found a job at a local high school they jumped.

“It’s always hard to pick up and move and leave friends, but that just shows what a bonded family they are,” Jets coach Bill Callahan said.

Matt attended the public schools there and played football. His brother Nick started to work, something that had seemed a distant dream when he was born. And that’s when then-Nebraska coach Callahan happened upon an unheralded guard who was toying with playing for Air Force.

“He just fit the profile of what we were looking for in a player,” Callahan said. “…I think we were his only major school.”

(Here’s audio from Slauson on the chances Callahan has taken on him, twice now)

slauson

Callahan noticed Slauson’s speech impediment, and watched over the years as the guard slowed down his sentences to make the stutter less of a hindrance. The better Matt knows someone, the less it seems to happen.

It certainly wasn’t a problem on the field.

Even now, Slauson visits kids in his father’s district who face the same issue, and now he can tell them that it won’t lock you out of the NFL.

“That’s the stuff that Matt really enjoys doing,” Rob said.

With Chris graduated and Matt in Lincoln, Rob applied for a job as principal of Lincoln Southwest, a newer high school near the University. The family moved again in his sophomore year, and Matt’s little sister, Allison, decided to apply to UNL as well.

They were in Lincoln on draft day this year, watching the ESPN at a local restaurant with hundreds of diners who became instant Slauson supporters when they learned he was there.

“The moment was unbelievable,” Rob said. “We’d all gotten a little frustrated because we’d been sitting there for quite a while… As we saw the Jets come closer we thought, ‘That’s weird,’ because we knew Bill Callahan had talked to Matt and his agent. It flashed, ‘Matt Slauson guard from Nebraska’ and the place went crazy, it was just bedlam.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan approved the Slauson pick based on the strength of Callahan’s recommendation.

“He’s strong, he’s physical, he has a quickness for a big man,” Callahan said. “He still has a long way to go yet — all the guys that first come in do.”

As for the rest of the family, they won’t be house-hunting in Florham Park. Lincoln has become their home. Nick works in the kitchen of Buffalo Wild Wings and drives to work every day.

As for the eye black, Slauson said he understands NFL rules won’t let him carry on the tradition. With that in mind, he’s planning a tattoo for the wide canvas of his back to match the art on arms. It’s pretty valuable real estate, wide and strong, and Slauson wants something beautiful there.

“I know I’m going to walk in and the artist will start drooling,” Slauson said.

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 at 11:44 am |
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Possible rape at Rhodes’ house – Updated

May
25

The New York Post broke the news this morning that Kerry Rhodes’ Morristown home was the scene of a possible rape on Friday night or early Saturday morning. The article details that Rhodes said through a statement with the Jets PR department that he is not a subject of the investigation. The 26-year-old Canadian woman filing the police report said she met Rhodes and another man at a Manhattan nightclub and returned to his Morristown townhouse where she was raped by two men.

A Jets spokesperson said the team is continuing to gather information on what happened that night.

UPDATED 9 p.m.: From the Jets—“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has stated that Kerry Rhodes is not the target of any criminal investigation. We refer all further questions regarding this investigation to the prosecutor’s office.”

And from the prosecuter’s office:

“Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi stated:

This statement is to correct misleading media reports that Jets player Kerry Rhodes is the target of a criminal investigation, specifically rape, by Morris County law enforcement authorities. Mr. Rhodes is not the target of any criminal investigation.  Rumors and media reports to the contrary are untrue. Information which is being reported through the media that Mr. Rhodes is the subject of a rape investigation is factually untrue and wholly inaccurate and has the capacity to unfairly damage the reputation of Mr. Rhodes.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, May 25th, 2009 at 9:28 am |
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What can Brown do for you?

May
23

Before the 2009 NFL Draft, Dustin Keller was the only returning tight end on the Jets roster. When the team traded away picks to go after QB Mark Sanchez and RB Shonn Greene, that didn’t leave a lot of room for other items on the shopping list.

So (as Ira points out) what about tight end?

In addition to signing back Bubba Franks and picking up UFAs like Chris Simmons, Rex Ryan is trying to convert Kareem Brown to the white side from the green.

0521kareem

Brown was a practice player last season, slated as a defensive lineman and listed at 295 pounds and 6-foot-4. He has dropped 30 pounds so far to try to add quickness while not diminishing the blocking ability that kept him on the squad last year.

“I played scout team tight end last year a lot during the season and that went pretty well,” Brown said, “so when Bubba was hurt and it was just Dustin they needed another a body, so they wanted me to just give it a try and see how it went and I ended up being kind of good at it and they were like, you can stay there.”

052209bubba1

Franks, who had his left knee scoped in the off season and doesn’t anticipate practicing again until training camp, said that Brown, now three years out of Miami, looks good.

“He’s picking it up pretty fast,” said Franks, who watched last Thursday’s practice from the sideline. “I’m actually impressed. As a defensive-minded guy he’s picking it up pretty fast.”

Ryan pointed out that Brown had an atrocious drop in Thursday’s open practice, but that one ball isn’t going to make or break him.

“He’s done well,” Ryan said. “He really has. I know you get one drop. It’s unfortunate you guys were there to see that, but he’s had his moments already in camp and that’s another guy that really is adding to his value for this football team. A guy that can play tight end, a guy that can play defensive end and do different things for us, special teams. He is going to be a valuable member of our team. He is coming along. I know that one drop was, ‘oh’, but that was Kareem. Those things happen to everybody.”

Brown is OK with the growing pains. To be realistic, practice squad players don’t last too long in the NFL, but being able to convert into a player with a few different roles could definitely impact his longevity. Ryan brought in plenty of defensive options, if Brown isn’t included in those plans, he’s wise to adjust.

“It’s a whole nother world and its a big transition switching from one side of the ball to the other,” Brown said.

Posted by Jane McManus on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
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A team of Journal News reporters share their thoughts on the Jets with the Lower Hudson fans.

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About the author
Jane McManusJane McManus joined The Journal News in 1999, after working at The Daily News and Newsday. Since she's been here, she's covered everything from girls basketball to the Final Four, the U.S. Open of both golf and tennis and recreational sports from rock climbing to roller derby (which she liked so much she joined the team). READ MORE
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