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Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

Archive for June, 2009

Are you priced out? Take heart…


If you are one of the Jets fans who cannot afford the PSL on your seat in the New Meadowlands, there is a solution. For just $499 you can buy two of the seats from the old stadium and have them installed in front of your television set.

The Jets and Giants announced that they will be selling the old seats (currently in use, and pictured left) on a first come basis. Here’s the pitch:

“As any Giants or Jets fan can attest, if seats could talk, they would speak of fierce rivalries and diehard loyalties, fourth quarter comebacks, secular Hail Mary’s, and very likely recite a verse or two from ‘Born in the U.S.A.,'” said Mark Lamping, CEO of the New Meadowland Stadium Company. “We are thrilled to give fans the opportunity to bring a special piece of history into their homes.”

The seats in the new stadium are more expensive than current tickets and many come with a one-time fee of several thousand dollars called a personal seat license, or PSL. Many Giants and Jets fans have had to give up season tickets because of the additional fee, which the Giants have applied to every seat in the new stadium while the Jets omitted PSLs on most upper deck seats.

With the new stadium slated to open in 2010, there is still doubt as to whether the Jets and Giants can force consumers to accept the new fee structure. Earlier this season the Yankees were forced to cut some of its ticket prices when fans didn’t fill the premium seats.

For more information on the old stadium seats, visit  newyorkjets.com.

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 9:57 am |

Jets get G Mike Fladell off waivers


The Jets get another Giants discard in G Mike Fladell.

Here’s what the team has to say about the Rutgers product:

Fladell (G/6-7/334/Rutgers/Howard Beach, NY) initially entered the NFL when he was signed to the Giants practice squad on Dec. 3, 2008 as an undrafted rookie free agent.  He was waived on June 24.  Fladell played left guard for Rutgers from 2003-07, contributing as a starter in 2006 and 2007.

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 5:40 pm |

Football in NY


Are you missing peripheral football events?

12 Angry Mascots, the event that brought Kerry Rhodes to the stage last March, will have Packers running back Ryan Grant and former Jets sideline personality Jenn Sterger tonight. The show is at 8 at Comix comedy club on W. 14th St. That one is open to the public.

Jets offensive lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson is having his foundation’s fundraiser tonight as well, and if you’re wondering where everyone else is, some are in Florida for the rookie symposium. But you need an invite to get into those.

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 12:34 pm |


Jets pick up WR Urrutia off waivers


Deja vu, didn’t I do this at the same time yesterday? This time the Jets picked up Mario Urrutia, a wide receiver released by the Bengals. My guess is that this isn’t the solution to the No. 2 connundrum.

From the team:

Urrutia (WR/6-6/232/Louisville/Fern Creek, KY) entered the NFL as a seventh-round selection (246th overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 NFL Draft.  He was waived Aug. 30 and signed to the practice squad on Aug. 31 where he spent the entire season.  During his college career at Louisville, Urrutia tallied 130 receptions for 2,271 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 12:23 pm |

Jets get CB Rashad Barksdale from Giants


The Jets have added another defensive back. The Jets will get CB  Rashad Barksdale after the Giants placed him on waivers.

From the Jets release:

Barksdale (CB/6-0/208/Albany/Hudson, NY) originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round selection (201st overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2007 NFL Draft and was released on Sept. 1, 2007. He signed with Kansas City on Sept. 2, 2007 and recorded nine total tackles in six games. He was released by the Chiefs on Aug. 30, 2008. Barksdale signed with the Giants practice squad, Sept. 1, 2008, and was waived on June 20,

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 12:44 pm |

Updated: Eric Smith, stealth Safety


Eric Smith could not have felt all that secure after Rex Ryan was hired. The former Baltimore defensive coordinator started bring in his guys, including S Jim Leonhard. Then Ryan started stocking the defense backs with familiar talent like CB Lito Sheppard and CB Donald Strickland.

Getting crowded in the backfield.

Smith was playing with the second team during the Jets mandatory minicamp two weeks ago when, over the course of three days, he nabbed five interceptions. The last one was a goofy ball popped up by James Ihedigbo (aka Diggs), which came down within Smith’s grasp.

“I feel 10 times better going from the first minicamp and trying to learn everything,” Smith said. “I was feeling like I was playing real slow and not up to my ability. Now, I’m pretty comfortable with the defense. I feel like I am playing a lot faster and as a result; making more plays.”


Smith got Ryan’s attention, and kept it when he hurt his hamstring after that last play.

Ed Reed, that’s what it reminded me of,” Ryan said “But, he’s really pushing. He really is. When you look at it on paper, you’ve got Jim Leonhard and Kerry Rhodes. That’s a heck of a safety combination. We also have Ihedigbo and Eric Smith.”

[Update, Thurs. a.m.: Just communicated with Smith, who is staying in town for treatment on the hamstring, and he said it was feeling much better now.]

Smith might be best known — or is that notorious? — for a collision with Anquan Boldin last season which left both with concussions. Smith was the one fined by the league, however, for what was deemed a dangerous hit. He always contended that Boldin’s trajectory was changed once both were in the air, and Smith couldn’t have avoided the contact at that point. That was what he gleaned from the replay, because Smith had no memory of the actual collision.

But once training camp starts next month, Smith, 26, will have a fresh start with a coach who clearly likes players who can reach up and snare an interception. Or five.

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 at 4:45 pm |


Manning funds birthing center


This story ran in the paper and Giants Journal last week, but I thought I’d put it here because I find it fascinating that an NFL quarterback is a heroic figure for many in the New York natural birthing community.

So I called Eli Manning to find out if he knew what he was getting into.

Mary Esther Malloy-Hopwood, a doula from Hastings, was at another woman’s side helping her through a three-day labor. The mother was having a difficult time, until she focused on something that seemed just as impossible as having her baby.

Eli Manning’s pass to David Tyree when the Giants won the Super Bowl.

So when Hopwood heard that the Giants quarterback and his wife Abby were spearheading the effort to fund a new $10 million birthing center at St. Vincent’s Hospital, it just seemed to fit.

“It’s been a subtext to my year, Eli Manning and birth,” Hopwood said with a laugh.
To many others however, quarterbacks and natural birth might seem like a strange combination. Even Manning understands it might seem unusual for a football player to take up such a core women’s issue.

“It’s probably a little different,” Manning said.
His involvement increased with St. Vincent’s very gradually. Manning made the traditional visits to the hospital as part of the Giants community outreach. The NFL often works with community hospitals and, like other players, Manning was affected by the people he met.

The more time he spent in the pediatric rooms, the more he was moved by the plight of young cancer patients and their parents. He asked how he could get more involved in helping St. Vincent’s and learned about the plans for the birthing center. He and his wife discussed it and signed on.

“My attachment to the new hospital, the plans, (is so) they have everything they need to make a woman feel like they’re doing it at their home,” Manning said.

A birthing center is very different from a hospital’s traditional labor and delivery area. Many women who decide to come to a birthing center opt for a midwife or doula rather than a physician, and the philosophy is very different.

“The assumption is that birth works and that women can do it,” Hopwood said. “Procedures are reserved for women who need them.”

Those procedures include fetal heart monitors, epidurals and IV fluids. Instead, women at a birth center might lean on hot tubs, relaxation techniques and visualization to make it through their labor — things Manning is finding out more about.

“The more we get involved the more we’ll learn,” said Manning, who was married after his Super Bowl victory and doesn’t yet have children.

Was he worried that he might get some ribbing from his fellow GIants?
“I think that players will see that I’m helping out with the hospital,” Manning said. “I don’t think I’ll get much heat for it.”

In 2003, Manhattan lost the Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center, the only free-standing birth center in the city. Some natural birth advocates feared that women would be forced to choose between a hospital and a homebirth.

But Hopwood said interest in natural birth increased and there are several options for women in the five boroughs. She also thinks athletes and women in labor might have more in common than they think, in pushing themselves to accomplish a physically difficult task.

Hopwood will be hosting a discussion at St. Vincent’s later this summer on ment and natural childbirth, and she is sure that Manning will be a topic that comes up.
“It’s interesting having an icon in the masculine world of sports emblazoned across a birthing center,” Hopwood said, “but there are almost as many men walking through those doors.”

Manning may be an unlikely hero for the natural birth movement, and the quarterback has gotten letters through the hospital from people excited about his sponsorship. But Manning said he isn’t even sure that it’s what he and his wife will want when they decide to have children.

Then he paused.

“I’ll let my wife make that decision,” he said

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
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I’m back!


Yes, my imposed absence is done and I have learned never to use the word “loan” as a headline. And I will include mortage, work-from-home, clearance sale, Pay Pal and Nigerian Bank in that category as well.

I don’t have any recent practice pix, so I thought I’d add my friend Jenni’s Vizsla, Ruben, since he’s really cute and I saw him on my trip to Nebraska.

Since I was gone, David Clowney had a flight canceled, Jay Feely said fatherhood was the most important role he had to play and Leon Washington’s agent Alvin Keels implored everyone to finish the day strong.

The one big question is wide receiver, since Plaxico Burress may be on the market. As it stands, he could likely be penalized by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who is pretty heavy with the discipline. If the court schedule and commish allow Burress to play, he would immediately upgrade that position.

Although Wallace Wright, Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey and Clowney have looked good at times during the optional workouts and camp, Burress is the kind of wide that takes a team to the Super Bowl. It’s a matter of how much baggage the Jets are willing to risk.

He was fined some crazy number of times by the Giants for being late and other transgressions. Is that a chemistry killer? Or is the risk worth the reward. This could be a very real question for the Jets, so what would you do if you’re Mike Tannenbaum?

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 11:27 am |

“Hey, I need a loan!”


“Hey, I need a loan!”

That’s what Bart Scott said as he passed the media scrum in front of Mark Sanchez today, less than 24-hours after the rookie quarterback and fifth overall pick of the NFL draft signed a contract worth at least $28 million over five years, and could bring him as much as $60M if Sanchez hits his incentives.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said the abuse was a given once the ink was on paper. “Our guys could not wait til they got here,” he said. Here’s Sanchez on the day after.


Today was the last day of the Jets mandatory minicamp, and Sanchez did his best to leave a good impression. In the no huddle drill, Sanchez was “sacked” (no pads, but would have been in a game situation) and had a false start call against him before roaring back with completions to Wallace Wright, four to David Clowney and finally a 17-yard fade pass toward the end zone and into the waiting hands of Wright.

“Wow,” Ryan said. “What a day. Really came back in that last drive.”

Ryan reiterated that no matter how low the interest rates at the National Bank of Sanchez, the money would not tilt the playing field when it came to the quarterback competition with Kellen Clemens.

“From what I have been told, and the only thing that matters in this competition, is that the best player will play,” Clemens said. “They never said that the highest paid player is going to play, but the best player is going to play. So, that’s how I am going to approach it. If they change their approach then I will change my approach. But, as of now that is where it is and we are going to continue to move forward.”

I asked RB Leon Washington how he felt about seeing Sanchez get so much guaranteed when he’s haggling over a $3 to $6 million potential contract extension.


Meanwhile, RB Thomas Jones continued to be a no show in the locker room after practice.

There were a few standouts at the minicamp. On the offense, Wright was a regular target for Sanchez, which is something that the wide receiver appreciates after getting a lot of attention for his special teams play.


Eric Smith snatched another interception, grabbing a ball that was popped up by James Ihedigbo en route from Sanchez to Clowney. It was his fifth of the camp, and Ryan noticed. For Smith, who was playing with the second team defense, it was good to get the stats but he didn’t make a big deal of it. “The ball just happened to come my way,” Smith said. He hurt his hamstring later, but downplayed that as well even though Ryan joked that it might keep him out of any softball games he had scheduled.

Ryan also talked up LB Marques Murrell, who he said had great hands after being switched from weak to strong side with Jason Trusnik. “Murrell was the one that really jumped out at me,” Ryan said.

Brad Smith had some great catches, including a leaning one-hander with momentum taking him straight out of bounds. Clowney said the catches late in the Sanchez drive were important for him after struggling in the OTAs.


Plus… Ryan said the stuff with Channing Crowder was just in fun, and that he hopes the linebacker doesn’t come looking for him. …LB David Harris was back on the field today practicing three weeks after getting Jim Leonhard‘s helmet in the mouth while Harris was on the sideline during a punt return drill.

Finally, I will be gone for the next week and will not be allowed to check my work email or update the blog. It’s a good thing the Jets are all relaxing as well. Enjoy!

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 at 2:03 pm |


Sanchez on being filthy rich


Mark Sanchez signed today for five years and $28 million in guaranteed money, with $60 million the ceiling with incentives. Here’s what he and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum had to say about the 47-page contract.

“A lot of hard work was put into this, but, for me, it’s only the tip of the iceberg,” Mark Sanchez said. “There is so much more that I want to accomplish and this doesn’t assume that you’re going to be successful.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work. I’m fortunate enough to be on a great team. Signing this deal doesn’t mean that Bart Scott isn’t coming after me tomorrow (laughter). He’s going to be there talking just like Big Jenk (Kris Jenkins) and all those guys. Nothing changes on the football front. I have to keep my same mindset and stay focused. Bart’s probably going to want a nice breakfast or something (laughing). I don’t know, we’ll figure it out.”

On being the highest-paid player in team history…

“It means the world to me to put myself in a position like this and work hard enough to get here,” Sanchez said. “Obviously, I’m thankful to the Jets and the organization here, but this is just the beginning and that comes with a lot of responsibility just like being the quarterback here. I’ll be working every day on and off the field to justify this contract and let the Jets know, like I said, that this is the first of many contracts.”

Rex Ryan on the signing…

“I’m just happy for Mark and for (Jets general manager) Mike Tannenbaum and the football staff that the business stuff is behind them where Mark is concerned. From here on out it’s about football. He’s a great young man who has been working hard since he got in here and I’m excited that we have him in the fold.”

Tannenbaum On why the contract is five years instead of six years…

“Without getting into all of the details, there were tradeoffs,” Tannenbaum said. “Where we are today in 2009 we just felt that was the appropriate place. I think, overall, the deal is good for both sides.”

On Sanchez saying that he wanted to sign early…

“I recorded that so I played it back a couple of times (smiling),” Tannenbaum said. “Every time they asked for something unreasonable I just played that. I would just say that Mark is a sincere person; I think that you get that feeling from him. You have two sides working in good faith. Sometimes you hear that some teams try to make draft day deals setting parameters. Quite frankly, we didn’t get on the clock until there were about two-and-a-half minutes left on draft day because of the complexities of the deal with Cleveland. When you make a trade involving players you have to put conditions in. If Kenyon Coleman fails his physical what does Cleveland get? It’s a pretty complicated conversation when you have 10 minutes on the clock. We didn’t have the fifth pick in the draft until there was about two-and-a-half minutes left to go. Did you get hit by a bus? Are you OK? We don’t really have time to get into in-depth negotiations. It was really more based on our understanding of Mark and (Sanchez’ agent Dave) Dunn, who I think is a really good agent. What Mark said publicly he said privately as well. We didn’t really have a lot of time there to talk parameters because of the complexities of the trade with Cleveland.”

Tannenbaum on how this affects Thomas Jones’ and Leon Washington’s contract…

“They’re compartmentalized, this was part of the working pool and those other two players (Jones and Washington) are both under contract,” Tannenbaum said. “I’m glad they’re here. I can understand the question, but they’re really not related from a standpoint that one’s a rookie contract and those guys are veteran players.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 10:24 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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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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