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Jets articles- 9/1/07

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Sep 1, 4:39 AM EDT

Patriots' Safety Faces 4-Game Suspension


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Rodney Harrison, the frequently fined strong safety who solidified the New England Patriots' defense through back-to-back Super Bowl victories, will miss the first four games of the NFL season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

"Tomorrow, the commissioner will announce I have been suspended," a somber Harrison said in a hastily announced conference call with reporters on Friday night after ESPN.com reported that he had admitted obtaining human growth hormone.

Harrison did not take questions or confirm the banned substance involved.

"I want to make it clear that not once did I ever use steroids," he said. "I did admit to the commissioner that I did, in fact, use a banned substance."

The league issued a statement late Friday night confirming that Harrison is suspended without pay for four games, effective immediately. He is eligible to return to the active roster on Tuesday, Oct. 2, following the previous night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the league said.

Wade Wilson, currently the Cowboys' quarterback coach, reportedly also admitted to NFL officials that he received illegal drugs.

According to the New York Daily News, Wilson admitted receiving HGH while working for the Chicago Bears from 2004-06. Citing sources, the News said Harrison and Wilson were subjects of an investigation by the Albany (N.Y.) County District Attorney's office into an Internet drug scam.

The Patriots, who lost in the AFC championship game to the Indianapolis Colts last season, are considered favorites to reach the Super Bowl after a series of strong offseason acquisitions, including Adalius Thomas and Randy Moss. Harrison apologized for becoming a distraction to his team as it prepares for the Sept. 9 opener against the New York Jets.

"I will be absent from the team for the next four weeks. That is a penalty that I have to serve. I intend to return and do my best to really help this team in any capacity I can help this team get back to winning the championship," Harrison said.

"This is something that Rodney Harrison did, and Rodney Harrison did alone. My teammates didn't do it. As they prepare for the Jets and games after that, I would ask that you give them the respect, not badger them with questions because they don't have any information."

The team had no comment, spokesman Stacey James said.

Harrison also apologized for serving as a poor role model for young football players.

"I sent the wrong message with my actions," he said. "I have not made excuses, nor will I make excuses. I made a mistake and I am very sorry for that. ... I do not condone my behavior. I am very, very embarrassed by it. I am disappointed in myself."

In a 13-year career, Harrison has earned a reputation as one of the NFL's most aggressive players, one feared by opponents for bonecrushing hits they complain are cheap or illegal. The league often agrees, fining him more than $200,000 in his career, including a one-game suspension in 2002 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland's Jerry Rice that cost him a game check of $111,764.

But as much as others hate to play against him, his teammates appreciate the way he practices, plays - and talks - at full speed.

On his second day of training camp after joining New England, Harrison took out elder statesman Troy Brown on a route across the middle. Brown threw the ball at him, but a month later a group of Patriots went to coach Bill Belichick and asked him to make Harrison one of the defensive captains.

"It wasn't about me making friends," Harrison said before the 2004 Super Bowl. "It was about me proving that I still had some gas in my tank and I could still play."

But it wasn't just gas in his tank.

As the hits took their toll on Harrison, he turned to banned substances to get back on the field.

"My purpose was never to gain a competitive edge," he said Friday night. "Rather, my use was solely for the purpose of accelerating the healing process of injuries I sustained while playing football.

The injuries came more frequently as Harrison, now 34, got older.

He was sidelined for eight games in 1999 with a shoulder injury. After injuring his ankle in 2002, the Chargers feared his career was in jeopardy and cut him.

Harrison quickly signed with New England and held together the defense for teams that won the 2004 and 2005 Super Bowls, sealing the second victory by intercepting Donovan McNabb with 9 seconds remaining.

But he played in just three games in 2005 before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligaments. He broke his right shoulder blade last season and missed six games, then returned for two more before straining his right knee and missing the rest of the regular season and playoffs.

ESPN.com reported that Harrison's name came up in federal and New York state investigations into an Internet pharmaceutical distribution ring for steroids and other performance enhancers.

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September 1, 2007 -- The sweat was still dripping from C.J. Mosley's face when he received an unexpected phone call on the Jets' sideline during their 13-11 win over the Eagles in the preseason finale Thursday night in humid Philadelphia.

Mosley, a 314-pound third-year nose tackle fighting for a roster spot with final cuts looming today, had completed the greatest defensive series of his life but hadn't had time to reflect on his performance.

"Don't be satisfied with that," barked the voice on the other end of the line. "Keep going out there and playing football."

Mosley, who has four career sacks, had sacked Eagles quarterback A.J. Feeley three times in one series. On the third sack, Mosley unknowingly broke a bone in Feeley's left (non-throwing) hand, knocking the quarterback out of the game. On the series, Mosley forced two fumbles, the second of which was recovered by the Jets.

"I've never had something like that happen in my life," Mosley said of that magical series.

Yet there was Bryan Cox, the Jets assistant defensive line coach, on the phone from the coaches' booth in the press box, acting as a complete buzz-kill.

"He's been on me every day," Mosley said of Cox, a former NFL linebacker. "He really has nothing nice to say, but that's him, that's his personality. He'll get you fired up.

"Whenever you see Bryan Cox, it's business, time to go to work."

Thus, the call.

"It just felt good to go out there and do that," Mosley said. "Anytime that happens, you think, wow. But you've got to come back to earth . . . and Bryan Cox . . . brought me back down to earth."

Mosley wants to believe his performance has locked up a roster spot.

"I would hope so, but that's up to them," he said. "I looked at this as an opportunity."

Eric Mangini said Mosley did well.

"He's been able to provide pressure in four-man front rushes and even three-man rushes," Mangini said. "That's been a positive. He's done some nice things throughout the preseason. I'm sure he'd like to bottle [what he did against the Eagles]. It was quite a good series for him."


As the Jets trim their roster to 53 players today, among the most intriguing bubble players is QB Marques Tuiasosopo. He has performed well enough to make the team, but Mangini could roll the dice and use Brad Smith as the No. 3, which would save a roster spot, because Smith, also a WR, RB and kick returner, is going to make the team anyway.

The question becomes whether GM Mike Tannenbaum was spooked enough by the debacle of 2005, when Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler went down in Week 3 and were lost for the season. If the Jets keep Tuiasosopo, it'll be all about insurance, because the team is comfortable with Kellen Clemens at No. 2 after his terrific summer.


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Kerry Rhodes laughs off Bill Belichick's criticism




Saturday, September 1st 2007, 4:00 AM


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Read Rich Cimini's The Jets Stream

The Jets' season opener against the Patriots still is eight days away, but the first salvo already has been fired. It's from an unlikely source: Bill Belichick, who usually is careful about not providing bulletin-board fodder to the opponent.

Belichick takes aim at safety Kerry Rhodes, ripping one of the Jets' best players in the current issue of Sports Illustrated. In a story that ranks the top 500 players in the NFL, Belichick offers his take on the rankings of Rhodes (29th) and Bills tackle Jason Peters (39th).

"Neither of those guys could make my team," Belichick told the magazine.


Rhodes burst out laughing when the quote was read to him in the Jets' locker room after Thursday night's preseason finale in Philadelphia. He laughed so loud that a couple of teammates, dressing nearby, turned around to check out the fuss. Rhodes wanted to say what was really on his mind, but he held back.

"No comment on that one," he said. "That's funny, though. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion."

Rhodes paused, laughed again and said, "Maybe I couldn't make his team."

The Patriots do have three quality safeties in Rodney Harrison, Eugene Wilson and rookie Brandon Meriweather, but that's beside the point. To tweak Rhodes, one of the Jets' up-and-coming stars, is really a shot at the entire team. Rhodes claimed Belichick's remark won't provide additional motivation; he's just excited about the season.

"We're ready to get it going now," said Rhodes, who recorded 21 solo tackles, a strip/sack and a fumble recovery in three games last season against the Patriots. "It just so happens we're playing the team with the coach that you're talking about."

Another subplot for an already juicy rivalry.

CUTTING CREW: The roster, which stands at 75, must be trimmed to 53 by 4p.m. today. DEKimo von Oelhoffen, who started 16 games last season, will be released today. Other veterans on the bubble are QB Marques Tuiasosopo, TE Sean Ryan, DE Michael Haynes, LB Andre Wadsworth, LB Anthony Schlegel, LT Adrian Jones, NT C.J. Mosley and NT Sione Pouha.

Von Oelhoffen was entering the second year of three-year, $9million contract.

The Jets could be active in the trade market. With a surplus of cornerbacks, they might be willing to deal Andre Dyson, who was slowed in the preseason by a lower leg injury.

CLASS ACTS: The early returns on GM Mike Tannenbaum's second draft class are positive. All four picks are expected to be early contributors - CB Darrelle Revis, LB David Harris, LG Jacob Bender and WR/PR Chansi Stuckey. Bender, a sixth-round pick, is a likely opening-day starter. Stuckey was an absolute steal in the seventh round.

"He knows how to get open in the middle of the field, in traffic," QB Chad Pennington said. "The ball sticks to his hands when he catches it."

Stuckey has Wayne Chrebet-like potential as a slot receiver, according to an opposing GM. He led the Jets in receiving for the preseason, with 11 catches, 76 yards and a touchdown.

Bender still is unpolished in pass protection, but he has a chance to be a punishing run blocker. Teammates marvel at his ability to explode out of his stance on the snap.

"I love run-blocking. Everybody knows that," Bender said. "You just come off the ball and you get to hit somebody. It feels great, especially when you can run somebody over."

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Five Questions for the Jets

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Star-Ledger Staff

Will second-year QB Kellen Clemens continue to turn the up heat on Chad Pennington?

Clemens had a quiet night against the Eagles, completing his only two passes for 12 yards in one series and one play worth of action. But he has already made his point and the leash has shortened on Pennington, who'll start vs. the Pats.


Can LB David Harris keep it up?

Yes. Harris was made for the 3-4 defense and he continues to make plays that Jonathan Vilma is not. The Jets won't be able to keep him out of the lineup too much longer. The question is, will Vilma or Eric Barton sit?

Can rookie G Jacob Bender bounce back?

Bender absolutely smoked Eagles rookie free agent DT Jeremy Clark. Bender is a sensational run blocker but still needs to improve on pass protection. He has promise but he's not ready for the Patriots just yet.

Will the run defense finally show up?

The Jets' reserves held the Eagles' backups to 77 yards rushing on 23 carries, but we're not excited. Let's see what they do next week when the Patriots come storming into town.

How did Rutgers rookie free agent CB Manny Collins do?

He had three tackles and a near interception on a pass breakup, and on special teams he had a tackle and a key block on Chansi Stuckey's 38-yard punt return. He's a candidate for the practice squad.

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Wadsworth a likely cut

Comeback ends when Jets trim down to 53-man roster

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Star-Ledger Staff

The dream of a storybook comeback ended on a sour note for Jets linebacker/defensive end Andre Wadsworth yesterday.

Though the Jets won't officially announce their cuts until this afternoon, Wadsworth is one of several players the club has released to get down to the mandatory 53-player roster by 6 p.m., according to someone in regular contact with the club. That person requested anonymity because he's not authorized to speak publicly.


Veteran defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, defensive end Michael Haynes and linebacker Anthony Schlegel, a third-round pick in 2006, were also among those who were cut.

Wadsworth, who hadn't played since 2000 and had undergone 13 surgeries, was trying to make the unlikeliest of comebacks. He made it through training camp but was obviously a step slow. He did, however, have a strip/sack vs. the Giants.

Schlegel, who many said was selected too high, was quickly overtaken by rookie David Harris in training camp this summer and never really mounted a challenge. In the case of von Oelhoffen, the Jets finally admitted they made a mistake in giving the veteran a $3.2 million signing bonus last season. He was a big disappointment.

Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo and rookie cornerback Manny Collins are among those who remain on the bubble.

Tuiasosopo, an ex-Raider who is battling Brad Smith for the third quarterback spot, made the Jets' decision more difficult be engineering a game-winning two-minute drive vs. the Eagles. Tuiasosopo is clearly the better pure quarterback. Smith affords the Jets roster flexibility.

Collins, a Rutgers product, has been solid since he arrived as a late signee and is a candidate for the practice squad.

"I've done my part," said Tuisasosopo, who'll likely catch on with another team if he's released. "I've worked hard and put my heart and soul in it. ... There's not much else I can do."

Said Collins: "It's been a big-time experience, it's been a blessing and I hope my blessing continues from here. I'll read my Bible and pray a lot, just try to relax (while awaiting word)."

Jets running back Thomas Jones, who suffered a strained right calf on Aug. 12th in practice, carried the ball only eight times for 27 yards and a touchdown in one preseason game this summer, but coach Eric Mangini expects him to be ready to go on Sept. 9 when the Jets meet the Patriots in the season opener at Giants Stadium.

Jones, an eighth-year pro, has missed just one game the past two seasons while rushing for over 2,500 yards for the Bears.


The Jets return to practice on Monday and chances are Jones will do some meaningful work. The Jets have been careful not to rush him back, but the games count now.

"Each guy is different," said Mangini when asked if Jones will be able to contribute right away. "With veteran guys who have that experience to draw from, they have got a real edge over, say, if a young guy had been hurt early in camp and then had to come back in because they haven't seen as many things. With Thomas, he's been through a lot of games. He's been through a lot of situations and he's very active in the meetings."

QB Kellen Clemens (30-for-41 for 364 yards, four TDs and two INTs) said he didn't necessarily learn anything new about himself this preseason.

"I just had an opportunity through an off-season of hard work to kind of reveal some of the things that were always there but never really surfaced," he said.

NT C.J. Mosley, who had three sacks and two forced fumbles in one series vs. the Eagles, spent his rookie season with the Vikings in 2005 and was obtained by the Jets last August in a trade involving QB Brooks Bollinger.

"I don't think I had nothing like that in my whole life," Mosley said of the series. "Anytime something like that happens, you think, 'Wow,' but you have to come back to earth."

Rookie LG Jacob Bender, who is extremely quick off the ball, can be overpowering as a run blocker at 6-6, 315 pounds. ... Chansi Stuckey (four catches, 47 yards) earned praise from QB Chad Pennington for his ability to get open over the middle and his smarts. ... FB Stacy Tutt (12 carries, 48 yards) has the moves of a tailback. ... Stuckey and fellow rookie Darrelle Revis look like a formidable punt return tandem. ... Ex-Jets RB Cedric Houston has re-enrolled at the University of Tennessee.

Dave Hutchinson may be reached

at dhutchinson@starledger.com

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Let the Personnel Decisions Begin

Posted by Bob Bullock August 31, 2007 5:16PM

Categories: Final Cuts

The preseason finally ended last night as the Jets beat the Eagles 13-11 on a last second field goal by Mike Nugent. It certainly wasn't as exciting as it sounds, but at least the REAL games will start next week. Now comes the tough part for the Jets' Brass, cutting the roster down to 53 by late tomorrow afternoon.

A few players made strong cases for making the team last night, while others could have very well signed their ticket out of town.

Defensive Tackle C.J. Mosley had three sacks on one series and showed a pass rush that had yet to be seen during the preseason. Given the lack of depth at that position anyway, I believe Mosley is a safe bet to stick around. I'd much rather have him in there then Sione Pouha, who in spite of being talked up by coach Mangini, has yet to make a play since he was drafted by the team two years ago.

Marques Tuiasosopo also played okay last night, leading the team to the game-winning field goal. I'm not sure if it was enough to make the team though. The way Brad Smith played at quarterback certainly has to make Tangini give some serious consideration to keeping Tui around for insurance. The team has a history of having 2 quarterbacks get hurt in the same game, as we all know. Do you want Smith or Tui running the show should that happen? Actually, at that point, would it really matter?

I also expect a few players to get the axe come tomorrow, some of them may surprise you.

I believe Drew Coleman and Rashad Washington are very much on the bubble.

The Jets have a lot of cornerbacks with Dyson, Barrett, Revis, Miller, Poteat and Collins all ahead of Coleman on the depth chart. Coleman also had a bad game last night to boot, which could have spelled the end to his Jets career.

Washington also didn't play well last night, he is battling the likes of Eric Smith, Raymond Ventrone and Jamie Thompson. Washington is a good special teams player, but Ventrone has shown the same ability. I believe Washington is in serious jeopardy of not making the team.

Two players that have locked up spots on the team are WR Chansi Stuckey, who looked impressive again last night, and RB Danny Ware who flashed some good speed and quickness all throughout the preseason.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see trader Mike make a few deals over the next couple of days either. It should be quite an eventful period as the final roster shapes up.

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Was this Schlegel's last hurrah as a Jet?

By Gregg Hayim

Posted Aug 31, 2007

For 2006 third-round selection, linebacker Anthony Schlegel, things have not gone exactly according to plan.

Schlegel, one of the hardest hitters on the team, spent the majority of the summer running with the third-team defense. With a lack of opportunity to prove his worth, Schlegel has found himself on the bubble for a roster spot.

Finally given the opportunity to show his wares, Schlegel did not disappoint. The Ohio State alum played a key role in the Jets 13-11 come-from-behind victory against the Eagles, last night in Philadelphia. He led the team with seven tackles, including four solo and a forced fumble.

"This was my one opportunity all camp to go out there and show what I can do" Schlegel said from his locker after the game. "I wasn't worried about anything, I just know what type of player I am and if someone gives me an opportunity, I'll give them everything I have."

Nobody questions Schlegel's toughness or tenacity; it's usually his pass coverage skills that take the brunt of the criticism. And aside from the tremendous job he did of stuffing the run, he looked sharp in that regard as well.

"I'll tell you what; I thought I defended the pass pretty good." Schlegel said. "Everybody always dogs me about my pass coverage, so I was pretty happy about that."

The fourth, and final, preseason game is now in the books, and the Jets will make their final roster cuts early this weekend.

With the majority of the first-teamers relegated to the sideline, last night's 13-11 Jets victory served as a golden opportunity for a player like Schlegel to shine.

In training camp, it is often a lack of opportunity that becomes a player's worst enemy, and in the case of Schlegel, that may very well be the case.

The Jets current roster sports seventy-five names. That number must be trimmed to fifty-three to meet league requirements; and the Jets brain-trust is going to have to make several very difficult decisions over the weekend.

Last night's strong performance from Schlegel only helps bolster his case for a job.

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Jets’ Young Linemen Have Lessons to Learn

By KAREN CROUSE, 8/27/07

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Aug. 26 — The Jets’ inexperienced left guards were not the only linemen exposed Saturday night.

Nick Mangold, the second-year center, was in the locker room after the Jets’ 20-12 preseason victory against the Giants conducting a one-on-one interview in jeans and sandals but no shirt when a TV reporter and his cameraman swooped in and began taping.

The 300-pound Mangold stopped in midsentence. Shifting his gaze to the cameraman, he said: “Oh, God, you aren’t getting film of me topless, are we? Can I get a shirt on first?”

Mangold excused himself to finish dressing, then resumed talking about how he embraces the role of mentoring the two players, Jacob Bender and Adrien Clarke, who are taking turns lining up directly to his left.

“I think it helps you learn the material even more when you can teach it to somebody else,” Mangold, who started 17 games last season as a rookie, said. “So it gives me a great opportunity to learn even more.”

Against the Giants’ starting front seven, Bender, a rookie, and Clarke, a free agent who was out of the N.F.L. last season, could not cover up their inexperience.

On his fourth snap as a starter, Bender was caught flat-footed by defensive end Justin Tuck, who spun around him and sacked quarterback Chad Pennington for a 12-yard loss.

“I didn’t use my technique and he capitalized on it,” said Bender, the first offensive lineman to be drafted out of Division I-AA Nicholls State. “He made a great move.”

Bender added: “I’ve been playing football for a long time. I’ve given up bad plays before. You just learn. Some good things are going to come from this game.”

Bender could have looked at his starting debut any number of ways, but he recognized that it was not as if he was the big, quiet kid who was the last player chosen for a neighborhood game of touch football.

There may have been 26 offensive linemen drafted before Bender in this year’s draft, but there were hundreds who were not selected at all. Bender is not so blinded by the big city’s bright lights and bold headlines that he cannot see the larger picture.

“I keep telling myself I’m a good player,” he said. “I’m here, so obviously people think I can play. I’m thankful that I keep getting opportunities. I’ll work hard this week and take the coaching and go from there.”

Some of the coaching came from his teammates. After Bender allowed the sack, Clarke approached him on the sideline and gave him a pep talk, followed by a quick tutorial on the finer points of body positioning. “I just wanted to make sure he kept his head up,” Clarke said. “I know how it feels after you give up a play. You just want to regroup. I’m behind him 100 percent. I believe in him.”

Clarke, who started four games at left guard for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 before being released by the team last August, struggled in the first two preseason games, both starts. On Saturday, he was flagged for a false start in the second quarter while playing with the starting unit.

“I got a little anxious,” Clarke said. “No excuse for that.”

Offensive linemen are like most big men entrusted with protecting the richer and more famous. They are used to blending into the background. Clarke and Bender are not accustomed to drawing the crowd that surrounded them after the game Saturday. Pete Kendall’s contract saga, which led to his trade to the Washington Redskins last week, gave them an opportunity to swim in a fishbowl.

“If I said it didn’t affect me, yeah, I would be lying,” Clarke said, referring to the scrutiny that comes with trying to replace a popular, proven veteran. He added: “The best thing as a player to do is to get out there constantly every day and just try to play your best. And when you mess up, try to improve from that mistake and just keep on working.”

On the day the Jets traded Kendall for a conditional draft pick, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Eric Mangini talked about how comfortable they were with the “value” they received in return.

One day the wisdom of jettisoning a proven veteran to make room on the line for Bender or Clarke may be accepted. In the meantime, the often-injured Pennington is taking a beating, the offense appears to be a few spokes short of a wheel and nobody — not Pennington, not his receivers, not Clarke or Bender or any of the other linemen — looks the least bit comfortable.

“There were too many collective mistakes that were made,” Mangini said of Satruday’s game. “It’s not one person or one phase. It’s the whole unit.”


Darrelle Revis, the Jets’ first-round pick, made his debut at left cornerback in place of Andre Dyson, who is injured, and flew to the ball the way moths do to light. Revis was credited with five tackles and also battled away a pass over the middle that was intended for Sinorice Moss. He also returned a punt 13 yards.

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