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Jets articles and other football news- 6/24/08

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Russo: It caught me totally by surprise

BY NEIL BEST | neil.best@newsday.com

June 24, 2008

Chris Russo Monday confirmed on WFAN that he and co-host Mike Francesa feuded for much of the spring, but he insisted their relationship since has improved.

The remarks in his opening monologue were in response to a report in Sunday's Newsday that their 19-year partnership could end in the coming weeks, likely before Labor Day.

Russo never specifically denied that he or Francesa would leave, but he reiterated that both hosts currently are under contract and said he was shocked to be asked about the possible end of the show.

"This idea that somehow our program that we've had fun having done it for 19, 20 years, is on the verge of being dismantled caught me totally by surprise," Russo said.

"Contracts, contracts, contracts," he said. "You abide by contracts. Mine's got a long, long way to go, not to mention that quote unquote non-compete clause following it. You're never going to get rid of me here."

Francesa and Russo are believed to have other job opportunities, but to take advantage in the short term, either would have to buy out his deal. Russo's, with a non-compete clause, runs to October 2009.

It is not clear when Francesa's deal expires, but he is not known to have signed beyond this year. An industry source Monday said satellite radio is the likeliest destination for Russo.

Steve Cohen, Sirius' VP of sports programming and a former longtime WFAN staffer, did not return calls. Neither did Patrick Reilly, the company's senior VP for communications.

If Francesa leaves, he could draw interest from TV in addition to radio, perhaps NBC, where he has a local show on Sunday nights.

WFAN staffers have said for months that the relationship .between co-hosts is strained, but neither discussed that publicly until Monday.

Russo said that from around Easter (March 23) through May 9, "Mike and I were .having a lot of issues. If you're a listener, I don't have to tell you . . . We were fighting like cats and dogs. The tolerance level of each other, Mike to me, me to Mike, was low."

Russo said operations director Mark Chernoff finally asked him to talk to Francesa.

"After some initial balking by yours truly, I said, 'You know what, absolutely,"' Russo said. They met and "I apologized for acting like an idiot at times, and Mike did the same thing."

Matters improved, Russo said, but he added, "Now, was it as good as it may have been in the heyday as far as relationships are concerned? No, .because we were killing each other for six weeks. It's going to take a little while to get back to the same page."

Russo dismissed the notion that such bickering would lead to a breakup. But he left open the door to one host or the other departing.

"This is a great job; I need FAN," he said. "Again, that doesn't mean tomorrow or the next day or whenever that I'm going to put my signature or Mike on a 20-year contract .extension. You play it out and see what happens."

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Pennington Apologist Strikes Again

Posted by Bob Bullock

Categories: News

Reports over the last couple of weeks regarding the quarterback battle have been interesting to read. We all know that OTA's don't really mean too much at this point, but it can still give you some insight on how things are going as the team prepares for training camp.

That is why I find it quite funny when the well known "Pennington Apologist" Dan Leberfeld has to write something on jetsconfidential.com regarding Chad's performance. Leberfeld felt it necessary to make excuses for Chad because Erik Boland of Newsday reported on a few poor passes by Pennington.

Leberfeld wrote:

No doubt these assessments are accurate. But these are spring practices, opportunities to get the kinks out, and develop chemistry with new targets.

Pennington has very little experience throwing to Ball and Clowney.

And the fact that he overthrew Coles down field, perhaps that is a good thing. After all, people are constantly blasting Pennington about his arm strength.

Dan should just give up the campaign to save Pennington's job. We all know what we saw last year from Chad. Pennington was able to get away with his lack of arm strength by making smart decisions. Last season, he made poor decisions over and over again. If you combined the soft arm with a bad decision, you get the results we saw in 2007.

I have always liked Chad and certainly appreciate the effort he has put forth for Gang Green. It is just time for a new field general, that is all. Clemens will continue to learn as he goes and his strong arm will bail him out of mistakes on certain occasions. Pennington doesn't have that advantage, which results in a ton of negative plays as we witnessed too many times last season.

The time is now for Kellen Clemens.

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Link: Is Woody a Bust?

Posted on June 23rd, 2008 by Bassett

Our friends at New Era Scouting look at some of the Jets Free Agent Acquisitions, notably Faneca, Pace and Woody. On Damien Woody, Luke from New Era is not convinced.

The biggest gamble for the Jets was signing former Lion and Patriot Damien Woody to be their right tackle. Woody was a free-agent bust in Detroit, playing inconsistently and struggling to keep his weight down for the better part of four seasons. At one point during his stint with the Lions, he ballooned up to 378 pounds

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