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Ex-Jet saw onside kick coming


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Ex-Jet McClover sounds onside alarm

November 20, 2006

BY BRAD BIGGS Staff Reporter

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Bears stopped short of calling the New York Jets a desperate team, but their onside-kick attempt sure portrayed them that way.

After his team limited the Bears to 80 yards of offense in a scoreless first half and allowed them to cross midfield only once, rookie Jets coach Eric Mangini called for an onside try to open the third quarter. Kicker Mike Nugent set the ball on the tee and began walking backward before spinning and driving the ball into the ground to his left.

Chris Harris, lined up as the right tackle on the kick-return unit, fielded the ball easily at the Jets' 44, providing the Bears with positive field position and leading to their first score, a 20-yard Robbie Gould field goal. Harris was tipped off the kick was coming by teammate Darrell McClover, who was waived by the Jets in their final cutdown.

McClover noticed that Kerry Rhodes was in front of them, and he typically had been on Nugent's other side in film the Bears had reviewed.

''He tapped me on my chest and said, 'Hey, I think it might be coming right now,''' Harris said. ''We were ready for it.''

Special-teams coordinator Dave Toub had told his group that he figured his Jets counterpart, Mike Westhoff, would have some chicanery in store. New York had run a successful onside kick earlier in the season against Indianapolis, with Rhodes recovering a ball that had been kicked to the other side.

But several Chicago players said they knew something was fishy when Kerry Rhodes, who usually lines up on the right side, switched to left. Former Jet Darrell McClover alerted Chris Harris moments before Mike Nugent's kick.

"He hit me in the chest and said, 'Hey, I think it's coming this way,'" said Harris, who made the recovery.

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