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Jets News 5/13/07


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THREE LONGSHOTS AIM FOR THE GREEN

By MARK CANNIZZARO

May 13, 2007 -- If the fickle gods of fate have their way, three players participating in the Jets' rookie minicamp that opened yesterday at Weeb Ewbank Hall will carve out rather unique NFL careers.

It's a long shot that any one of the three, all of whom are tryout players in for a three-day look-see, will perform well enough to push the team to sign him to a contract. That's because, unlike the other draft picks and free agents working in the minicamp, the three never played college football.

Jesse Pellot-Rosa, a receiver who hasn't suited up in a football uniform since he was a senior in high school, was a member of the Virginia Commonwealth basketball team that shocked Duke in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament in March.

Outside linebacker Tommy Rowlands, a world-class wrestler out of Ohio State who's the No. 1-ranked freestyle heavyweight in the world and headed to the 2008 Olympic Games, hasn't played organized football since eighth grade.

Asked yesterday what position he played, he said, "I don't even remember."

Offensive lineman Cole Konrad, also a world-class freestyle wrestler vying to be on the '08 Olympic team, hasn't played football since he was a freshman in high school. Last month, he lost to Rowlands in the U.S. National Wrestling Championships and is ranked just behind the former Buckeye. Asked when he found out Rowlands was also invited to the Jets' minicamp, Konrad said, "I didn't know he was coming here until Friday."

Give the Jets this: They are creative.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is fond of saying that he and Eric Mangini don't like to leave "any stone unturned" when looking for players.

Each of the three players, contacted by assistant director of pro scouting Brendan Prophet, was shocked to get the call from the Jets.

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Jets roll with punches

Atlas trains Gang Green

BY RICH CIMINI

DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Sunday, May 13th 2007, 4:00 AM

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Atlas

Boxing trainer Teddy Atlas shows Jets' Anthony Clement how to hit the heavy bag.

* Read Rich Cimini's The Jets Stream

Walk into the Jets' practice bubble on a Monday morning in the offseason and you will see players throwing and blocking. You will see 300-pound behemoths going toe-to-toe and lithe receivers showing off their fancy footwork.

Training camp in May? Not exactly. These players are boxing.

Once a week, the bubble is transformed into a suburban version of Gleason's Gym, sans the ring and ropes. About 40 players, everyone from Chad Pennington to Ben Graham (yes, the punter), are participating in an eight-week boxing class taught by renowned trainer and fight commentator Teddy Atlas.

The world knows about Tuesdays with Morrie; the Jets spend Mondays with Teddy, throwing punches and experiencing a little taste of the Sweet Science.

Coach Eric Mangini, always looking for new training methods, decided last season to hire Atlas, with whom he had struck up a friendship. Mangini is old school with some of his coaching philosophies - i.e., making the players run penalty laps in practice - but he's not afraid to venture outside the box if it can help his team.

"I've always believed that a lot of good ideas can come from other sports," he says. "If you insulate yourself and stick to traditional methods, you can lose a possible edge because you're not open to new ideas."

The Jets, under new strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, have incorporated yoga, Pilates and martial arts into their offseason program. But boxing has created the biggest buzz, thanks to Atlas, who brings the gift of gab - and jab - into his classroom.

Atlas gives players specific drills to improve their hand speed and power, their foot speed and overall conditioning. It's particularly helpful to linemen, whose job often involves hand-to-hand combat at the line of scrimmage. For instance, he teaches them not to raise their elbow while delivering a blow - that diminishes its power.

One day recently, Atlas noticed a linebacker punching with too much weight on his back foot. The lack of balance, he told the player, will cost you a fraction of a second, an eternity in the ring. On the field, it could mean the difference between a bone-crushing hit and a missed tackle.

"Some of this will help them in their positions on the field," says Atlas, 50, a Staten Island product and a former Jets season-ticket holder. "If it shows up on Sundays, it'll be a positive."

Atlas isn't looking to turn the sessions into "Monday Morning Fights" - indeed, there is no sparring - but the players are taught how to throw, block and counter punches. Mostly, they hit a padded blocking shield. That reduces the risk of injury, although the image of Pennington - he of the twice-repaired right shoulder - unleashing a roundhouse might be disconcerting for some fans.

Mangini insisted he's not worried about his quarterback overdoing it. In his next breath, the coach deadpanned: "But I don't want him fighting (Wladimir) Klitschko."

Atlas, who gained fame as Mike Tyson's first trainer, is teaching more than jabs and hooks. He's also training the players' minds, trying to enhance their concentration and mental toughness. He talks to them about "the gray room," the moment of truth for a reeling boxer. The boxer can retreat to the darkness, surrendering to his opponent, or fight his way back to the light.

"That can be used in life, because we're all in that gray room at some point," Mangini says. "That's what I like about Teddy. He has great insight into the human condition."

Atlas and Mangini became friends early last season after a "random series of events," as Mangini puts it. Right about the time he was trying to figure out a way to solve the Jets' poor starts - it took them six games to score a first-quarter point - Mangini received a letter from a woman who mentioned that certain boxing trainers employ specific game plans to avoid cold starts.

Mangini, a boxing fan as a kid in Hartford, got to thinking. Recalling that Bill Parcells used to mention Atlas' name in stories to the team, he asked GM Mike Tannenbaum to reach out to Atlas. Quicker than a left jab, Atlas was on board, delivering motivational speeches to the Jets.

One day after a practice, as the players watched tape together, Mangini remarked to Atlas that some of his linemen weren't extending their hands quickly enough. Atlas drew a parallel to boxing. Once again, Mangini started thinking. That's when he broached the idea of the boxing class.

This isn't Atlas' first gig with non-boxers. He once trained former Rangers hockey player Steve Patrick and renowned dancer Twyla Tharp, who made a comeback at age 42.

"Don't tell the football players that I taught boxing to a ballet dancer," Atlas says, jokingly.

Says offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson: "There are so many similarities between the sports, especially from a lineman's point of view. We use our hands all the time. This gives us a chance to see punches and hit people with better accuracy. Can I get into a boxing ring? Probably not, but I definitely take away pearls and use it in my sport."

Aside from Ferguson, Pennington and Graham, Atlas' class includes tackle Anthony Clement, wide receiver Brad Smith, defensive linemen Shaun Ellis and Bobby Hamilton and linebackers Victor Hobson, Andre Wadsworth and Anthony Schlegel. Hobson a 6-foot, 250-pounder with a compact, Tyson-esque build, has made quite an impression on Atlas.

"I always tell him, 'I'm going to get you a four-round fight in Detroit,'" says Atlas, who may give Hobson a cameo on his ESPN show, "Friday Night Fights."

If nothing else, Mangini has found a way to break up the monotony of the offseason program. He also recruited another voice - Atlas is a terrific storyteller - to impart his message to the team. At the same time, his players have discovered a greater appreciation for boxers.

"As tough as the NFL is, boxing is even tougher," Atlas says. "It's one on one, just you and the other guy. It's the chamber of truth and the truth comes out like a meteor."

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Revis right where he wants to be

Sunday, May 13, 2007

BY ELI GELMAN

Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Darrelle Revis was sitting in his grandmother's house in Aliquippa, Pa., watching the draft unfold last month when his phone rang.

He snuck out of the room to take the call and came back in to sit on the couch without saying a word to anybody. Not long after that, it was reported on television that the Jets were trading up 11 spots to 14th overall when one of about 70 family and friends stuffed into the living room yelled out, "Who'd they want so bad?"

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Little did they realize the Jets' pick was sitting in the same room.

While he can certainly keep a secret, the Jets hope Revis, the 5-11, 204-pound cornerback out of Pittsburgh, will be able to fill the starting cornerback spot opposite Andre Dyson where it was a virtual game of musical chairs last season. The Steelers were expected to take Revis 15th had the Jets not selected him. He was that close to staying home and wearing the black and gold. But there's no such thing as disappointment for Revis. He understands the pressure that comes with playing in New York and the Jets moving up to select him. And he's determined to be ready for the challenge of lining up against Randy Moss, Dont

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JETS: He's hoping to catch on

Stuckey, a 7th-round pick and wide receiver, impresses at minicamp

BY TOM ROCK

tom.rock@newsday.com

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May 13, 2007

Seventh-round pick. It's a title that carries little weight. Which may be why Chansi Stuckey is so eager to drop it.

"I'm just the type of person who has a lot of hunger," the wide receiver, selected in the final round of last month's draft, said of playing with something to prove after being ignored for the first 234 picks. "I want to be the best whether I went in the first round or whether I didn't get drafted at all."

The Clemson product was one of four players the Jets selected who were at a three-day rookie minicamp that began yesterday. For Stuckey, who has rehabbed a number of injuries in the last few years, this is the first step in rehabbing his chances of making an NFL roster.

A concussion, a thumb injury and, most recently, a broken foot in October, contributed to his declining status in the eyes of scouts. A below-average performance at the combine didn't help his case, as he fell from a possible first-day selection to a guy the Jets took a chance on with an almost worthless pick.

One need only look as far as Saints receiver Marques Colston, a seventh-round selection from Hofstra a year ago, to see what kind of overlooked gems can be mined in the seventh round. But Stuckey isn't using that as inspiration. As far as he's concerned, he has a fresh start. The injuries, the poor 40-yard dash times, the long wait to hear his name called from Radio City, they're all in the past.

"Whatever happened happened," Stuckey said. "You have to start somewhere, but it's all about what you do when you get to the team."

What he's done so far is impress the Jets' coaches. Eric Mangini said Stuckey's enthusiasm, personality and hard work have caught his eye, but he's also noticed increased ability since watching Stuckey at the combine. "As he moves further along with that [injury recovery], naturally he's going to regain some of the things he had before the injury," Mangini said.

Stuckey said he is running at 100 percent now ("I feel like my old self," he said), thanks to some down time and training- room attention since the Senior Bowl. He went against the Jets' first-round pick, cornerback Darrelle Revis, in seven-on-seven drills yesterday morning. "We're battling, we're battling," he said of the matchup, which was closed to the media. But he was able to give a good scouting report on Revis after a few reps.

"He's big, he's physical and he's fast," Stuckey said. "I think if he keeps working, he could be one of the really great players in the NFL."

Some might have said that last part about Stuckey at one time. He's here hoping it can apply once again.

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Randy Lange's Blog on NYJ.com

Afternoon Practice and Presser

Published: Sat, May 12, 5:50pm EST

randy_lange_headshot_81x63.jpg?1177529599

By Randy Lange

Lange is editor-in-chief of newyorkjets.com. He covered the Jets for 13 years for The Record of Hackensack, N.J.

File Under: Eric Mangini, news conference, rookie minicamp, Darelle Revis, Pete Kendall

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05/12

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very cool BP-we'll put Sperm Edwards out of a job yet...somebody else is gonna get that JetNation Humvee company car-also I heard there are some unbelievable perks going on in the office break-room

I got you and Sperms back SFJ!

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WE need some veteran leadership and experience on the offensive line=I would not be so quick to throw Kendall out without someone that can replace him that can provide that.

Kendall is being a jerk,and is setting a bad example for the rest of the team.Mangini should not cave into his crap..he's not that good anymore.

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I got you and Sperms back SFJ!

I'd been carrying his lazy ass for a season and my back is getting sore-I'm just glad someone else is on the tag team-good work BP....

I loved those first two articles which again,show this team to be perhaps THE most forward thinking young CS and management crew in the league now

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Kendall conspicuous in off-season absence

Sunday, May 13, 2007

BY ELI GELMAN

Star-Ledger Staff

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Coach Eric Mangini was thrilled to be back on the field yesterday during the first day of Jets rookie minicamp. He enjoyed working Day One with the four draft picks, 14 rookie free agents and those players in on a tryout basis.

The first lesson he imparted was his emphasis on the core values he established when he took over as coach last year. "Communication, focus and trust. That will be an ongoing message throughout the year. I want them to understand those things," Mangini said.

Ironically, those core values aren't being observed by one of his captains, left guard Pete Kendall. Kendall has not participated in the team's off-season program "of late" according to Mangini. He is said to be looking for a new contract.

While the program is voluntary and "some other players not as far along" have also stayed home, it was clear Mangini was not happy to discuss Kendall's absence.

"Organizationally and personally, we really believe in the off-season program," Mangini said. "I like the way that we're developing that area each year. Not just in the weight room and with running and extra programs, (but I also) like the fact they're able to work out together and push each other in positive way. Being in New York, they're able to work together. It could be any number of things, in the classroom if they wanted to get together or on the field. They have the ability because of proximity.

"It's something we believe in fundamentally and believe it helps with progress."

Mangini said Kendall's status has not changed but added: "I'm very happy with the players who are here and working." Translation: Kendall better get in here soon.

One of the players Kendall was instrumental in helping develop is fellow lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson. His weight dipped to under 300 pounds during the season and Mangini said he's working hard to bulk up.

"Part of the off-season program is getting bigger and stronger," Mangini said. "Brick has worked very hard this off-season."

The quote of the day belongs to Jets first-round pick Darrelle Revis. The cornerback/punt returner was asked about Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff.

"He is a great coach. For his age, he has high energy," said Revis, who will likely be hearing about that one later on.

Of the players the Jets brought in for tryouts, two of them -- Tommy Rowlands (Ohio St.) and Cole Konrad (Minnesota) -- were both two-time NCAA Championship heavyweight wrestlers and had not played football at school. In fact, Rowlands, who is competing at linebacker, defeated Konrad (OL) in the finals of the US National Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas last month. The two get along well.

"We're friendly off the mat," said Rowlands, who is in the process of training for the Olympics. "I was shocked (when the Jets called). I thought it was a prank call."

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A conversation with Leonard Peters

By Hoss Aultman

Posted May 12, 2007

Q)What has been the experience like being so far from home?

Peters: It is ok. I grew up dancing (National Polynesian dancing) since I was in fourth grade all the way through high school, so I have traveled all over the world, Taiwan, so it is ok.

Q)It's been a long road from you to this point . . .

Peters: Who knew that a person from the Samoan Islands would come here and get a chance to play or at least try out to play NFL football.

Q)Do you fashion your hair style from Troy Polamalu?

Peters: As a Polynesian background it has always been a warrior like thing to grow your hair. I don

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Kendall's a no-show Sunday, May 13th 2007, 4:00 AM

Jets left guard Pete Kendall, unhappy with his contract, has stopped attending the team's offseason workouts - a decision that isn't sitting well with Eric Mangini.

"He participated early; he hasn't been of late," the coach said yesterday at the Jets' rookie minicamp at Hofstra, commenting for the first time on the brewing storm.

Asked if he's bothered that Kendall isn't working out with the rest of the team, Mangini said, "It's a voluntary program, but it's something that has real value. ... I think it's a positive to be here, I really do."

Sources say Kendall will likely skip next month's mandatory veterans' minicamp. Kendall, due to make $1.7million in the second year of a four-year pact, apparently is looking for a sweeter deal in light of the huge free-agent dollars that went to guards on other teams.

The Jets, who shopped Kendall during the draft, are believed to be eyeing possible replacements. They're keeping tabs on ex-Patriot and Brown Joe Andruzzi. Andruzzi, who underwent recent arthroscopic knee surgery, should be healthy in a few weeks.

Miami has expressed an interest in Kendall, but a trade to a division rival is unlikely.

Rich Cimini

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very cool BP-we'll put Sperm Edwards out of a job yet...somebody else is gonna get that JetNation Humvee company car-also I heard there are some unbelievable perks going on in the office break-room

Just don't get in the Hummer if faba is behind the wheel. He's a friggin' lunatic..

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