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Wadsworth Makes Like Tug: You Gotta Believe


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Wadsworth Makes Like Tug: You Gotta Believe

Published: 06-01-07

randy_lange_headshot_87x69.jpg?1177529165By Randy Lange


Article Permalink: http://www.newyorkjets.com/articles/wadsworth-makes-like-tug-you-gotta-believe

The first full week of the New York Jets' OTA practices are in the books, and Andre Wadsworth is still standing.

"It's not about proving anyone wrong. You've got to believe in miracles," Wadsworth said today, combining Tug McGraw's and Al Michaels' most famous lines into a new saying. "In life, you can't take no for an answer. Call me stubborn or not, but that's the way I live my life."

It's way too soon to say that the linebacker is back to the form that made him the third overall pick of the 1998 draft, or to a form that would help him contribute to the 2007 Jets, or to a form that will even get him out of the upcoming training camp. But he still looks the part at 6'4" and 272 pounds, and head coach Eric Mangini has labeled him as "just an impressive guy."

Perhaps most impressive, Mangini related for the first time, is that Wadsworth, beset by knee and Achilles' problems that knocked him from the game for the last six seasons, resisted all efforts by the Jets coach and general manager Mike Tannenbaum to shock him back to his senses and back out of football, back to running those six Florida car dealerships of his and to his family."

"Mike made me aware of his desire to get back in, and we decided we would bring him in, get to know him and see where he was," Mangini said. "When we talked to him, it was almost a case of trying to talk him out of coming back. In interviewing him and getting to know him, he was so impressive that as much as we tried to scare him off and get him to reconsider, he was too determined. That was attractive to Mike and me because of that level of determination.

"I thought they were testing me," said Wadsworth, who heard for the first time that his potential employers were trying to discourage, not encourage, him. He said Mangini "asked me how I'd feel about playing when it gets cold out or if I would miss my family. I took it like they were trying to see how serious I was, but now that I think about it, I can see that they might have been trying to talk me out of it."

It didn't work, because of that determination.

"I know I only have four or five years left of really getting a shot to do this again. I got healthy after the 5

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