New York Jets Running Back Thomas Jones Staying Busy, Ready For 2009 Season
June 22, 2009 – 7:15 am by Bunk
In his first two full years as a feature running back on an NFL squad (he split carries in Chicago previously), New York Jets running back Thomas Jones took full advantage of his opportunity – rushing for nearly 2,500 yards the past two seasons. Jones success since leaving the Windy City perhaps has even made the Bears regret trading him away after the 2006 season. Jones led the AFC with 1,312 yards in 2008 and scored 15 total touchdowns (13 rush, 2 receiving). Jones joined KILT in Houston last Friday to talk about his solid 2008 season, his thoughts on the Jets heading in to 2009 and his side projects off the field, including his charitable work that he’s been recognized for, and finally his music venture Outta Pocket Entertainment.
On the excellent stint he’s had in New York thus far after a number of frustrating and not all that productive years in Chicago:
“Yeah, I’ve been blessed. At first, when I was traded from Chicago, it was just a tough situation. I didn’t really want to leave the Bears and the family I made there coming off the Super Bowl year, but I’ve been blessed here in New York. I’ve got some great teammates, I’ve met a lot of great people here in New York. Like you said, they’ve embraced me. I’ve embraced the community – for Thanksgiving and Christmas I do a lot of things up here. Last year was a good year for me and we’re looking forward to having a good year this year.”
On he and his teammates busting the chops of Mark Sanchez for his spread in GQ magazine after being drafted so high in this year’s NFL Draft:
“That’s just locker room talk. But the thing is, when you’re a young guy, you’re going to get it the worst. That’s just part of the game. When you come in as a rookie, you’ve got all the veterans who’ve been in the league, you’re going to have to pay for a lot of meals, you’re going to have to carry a lot of helmets, but it’s all part of paying your dues. This is my 10th year in the league so I’ve seen a lot on four different teams and it’s been the same way on every team. It’s not any different and if you’re a high draft pick you’re going to get it the worst. So you know, that’s not the end of it for Mark Sanchez but he’ll live, he’ll make it through, he’ll be ok.”
On the battle between rookie Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemons for the starting quarterback position:
“You know, I’m not sure at this point. Kellen Clemons is the starter, he looked really good in mini-camp. You know, he hasn’t really had much of an opportunity to show what he can do. He was here with Chad for a couple of years, and then he was here with Brett last year. He’s got all the tools to be a great quarterback – he’s smart, he’s big, he can run, he’s got a strong arm and he’s a leader.
Mark Sanchez did a great job in college and getting drafted where he was drafted. So you know, we embrace him as a player on the team, but you know, he’s got a lot to learn in terms of the offense in terms of timing and things like that. But naturally, he looks like a natural leader. He’s got great athletic ability and he’s very smart – he’s got great instincts.So you know, I think both guys are going to go in to training camp and they’re going to go as hard as they can every day and whoever ends up being the starter, we’ll support him, get behind him and I’m sure the other guy will get behind the starter.”
On Brett Favre – both how his time in New York ended last year as well as what he sees materializing once more with Favre this offseason:
“Well the situation with me is I was asked a couple of questions [last year] and I answered them. First of all, I have the utmost respect for Brett Favre – he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play. It was an honor for me to get a chance to play with him. I played against him in Chicago for three years in my division. But it was an honor to play with him. He brought a lot of fun to our team; he brought a lot of energy and excitement to the huddle last year so I was definitely happy I had an opportunity to play with him.
The deal with the interceptions and all that – it was kind of blown out of proportion, it’s just part of the game. You make one comment or a couple comments and they’re turned in to something else. But I guess he’s not ready to give it up – and when you’ve played as long as he’s played, that’s pretty much all you know. I’m not saying he can’t do anything else but football’s his life. So you know, I wish him the best of luck, I hope he don’t have mixed feelings about what he’s doing. But hey, at the end of the day, if you can still play and a team wants you, then why not play?”
Listen here to Jones on KILT in Houston
Tags: Chicago Bears, KILT, New York Jets, NFL 2009, Thomas Jones
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