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Jets' Blaylock Runs to His Own Tune


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Jets' Blaylock Runs to His Own Tune


AP Sports Writer

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- There was a time when running back Derrick Blaylock took center stage.

As a freshman at Stephen F. Austin, Blaylock became interested in music. After listening to a few rap songs on the radio, he thought to himself, "Maybe I can do that."

So, he wrote a few tunes and started a group with three teammates on the football team.

They called themselves TX - which stood for Texas - and got together occasionally to practice. Then they saw an advertisement for a talent show at a local club and figured why not give it a shot.

TX finished third in the contest, with Blaylock taking the microphone in front of about 40 people.

"We didn't get booed off the stage," he said with a smile.

He certainly is not getting booed these days, either, though he has a different rap in the NFL. Blaylock took a back seat to Priest Holmes in Kansas City for four years, and now is in New York behind Curtis Martin.

Unlike many players, Blaylock is at ease with his role out of the spotlight.


'05 NFL Draft

"I'm good with it," he said. "That's the thing about it. Some guys have to know which role that they're playing. I know I'm backing up Curtis. I've been doing it since I've been in the league. I've learned from one of the best. Being behind Curtis I think I can learn a lot more."

Blaylock has not totally given up his music, composing three raps last year. In one called "Game Face," he talks about making moves like Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb:

I got my game face on, can you see through my mask

Breakin' shakin' boys out there, that's my task.

Toss me a swing pass, watch me make a grab,

Then juke and jab like Donovan McNabb.

"That's a pretty good line," Blaylock said with a laugh.

He wants to become a rap producer and investor once his NFL career ends, following in the steps of Jay-Z. It seems fitting that Blaylock prefers to stay behind the scenes, because that's what he has done since getting drafted in the fifth round in 2001.

Though he was inactive for every game that season, Blaylock started to show he could play on special teams, too. In 2002 and 2003, he made his name in that area, becoming one of the lead blockers for speedy returner Dante Hall. Last season against Atlanta, Blaylock combined with Holmes to become the first pair of running backs in league history to score four rushing touchdowns apiece in one game.

When Holmes was hurt later in the year, Blaylock stepped right in and made five starts. He finished the season with eight touchdowns rushing and a 4.6-yard average. As a free agent, he hoped to stay in Kansas City but the money New York offered was too good to pass up. Plus, the Jets needed a backup after LaMont Jordan left to become a starter in Oakland.

"He came into this league with a mind-set that he was probably going to play a lot and then all of a sudden he's behind Priest Holmes and he was OK, he found his niche," coach Herman Edwards said. "Now he comes here and he's really in the same predicament. So I think he understands his role."

Jordan made no secret of his desire to become a starter in the NFL. Blaylock hopes that day will come for him, too, but is being patient.

"Everybody dreams of being a starter one day but my day hasn't come yet," Blaylock said. "I'm a patient enough guy to wait for my day to come."

Blaylock is a different back from Jordan. He is not a big bruiser but has a little more speed. He also can be successful as a receiver out of the backfield. Last season, he had 25 receptions for 246 yards and a touchdown.

Martin has been impressed so far.

"I like his attitude more than anything," Martin said. "He has that breakaway speed that LaMont had also. We complement each other well. He's someone who I can be confident when I come out of the game we're not going to miss a step."

Or maybe even a beat.

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