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New York Jets' Leon Washington excused from organized team activity to be with fiance


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by Dave Hutchinson Wednesday June 03, 2009, 2:23 PM

large_leon-washington-new-york-jets-603.jpgBen Margot/Associated PressJets running back Leon Washington was excused from Wednesday's organized team activity to be with his fiancee who gave birth to the couple's second child.

Jets running back Leon Washington was a no-show Wednesday for the team's organized team activity and coach Rex Ryan couldn't praise Washington enough for the wisdom of his decision.

Washington's fiancee, Charity, went into labor Tuesday night and he went to be at her bedside. She had a baby boy, Noel, Wednesday morning.

"I think Leon made a great decision because I missed my second kid (Seth) being born and it's hard to get over that,'' said Ryan. "Everytime it's his birthday, my wife gives me a different look. And I was at an OTA, too, (in Arizona as a young assistant with the Cardinals under his dad, Buddy Ryan and battling questions about nepotism). It was a stupid decision. It was probably my biggest regret in coaching. It was a great move by Leon.''

On Monday, Ryan had his first chance to see both Thomas Jones and Washington in the backfield, and seeing was believing.

"It was kind of the great equalizer," said Ryan. "Everybody was saying the defense is ahead of the offense ... but that (Jones and Washington) was great to see."

Jones had been boycotting the off-season program until last Wednesday, and Washington ended a three-week protest this Monday. Both are unhappy with their contracts.

Notes: Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez hit just three-of-nine passes in full-squad drill but that included two drops and a spike during an end-of-the-game drill. The defense also dropped two interceptions during drills.

Even so, Sanchez was pleased.

"This is probably the best practice to date," said Sanchez. "Many more completions -- to the offense." ...

LB David Harris (lip and teeth) didn't practice following a collision last week with PR Jim Leonhard while Harris was on the sidelines and not wearing his helmet. Ryan said Harris received stitches in his lip and suffered a few loose teeth.

"We're keeping him away from contact for the next couple of weeks," said Ryan. "No sense doing it. We know what David can do."

Asked how many stitches Harris received, Ryan cracked, "I don't know. We're hiding that from New England."

The line drew a laugh from veteran beat reporters who covered former coach Eric Mangini, who was obsessed with keeping injuries a secret. ...

Former Rutgers LB Brandon Renkart and first-year pro Kenwin Cummings split time with the first-team as Harris' replacement. ...

Rookie free agent TE Jack Simmons, a tryout player from Minnesota who earned a roster spot last month, had three outstanding catches.

"We're going to have to see (how things progress)," said Ryan. "But every time you turn around it's like, 'Who is that again?' He kind of grows on you a little bit." ...

Ryan continues to say good things about LB Vernon Gholston.

"He gets better every day it seems like to me," said Ryan. ...

Ryan also likes LB Bryan Thomas, saying that Thomas reminds him of former Ravens LB Adalius Thomas. ...

WR David Clowney will host a high school all-star football camp at the Delray Beach Soccer Complex in Delray Beach, Fla. on Saturday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the guest instructors will be former Jets QB Chad Pennington, ex-Packers great WR Antonio Freeman, Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Jets CB Drew Coleman. ...

DE Shaun Ellis (knee) and TE Bubba Franks (knee) were held out of drills

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