Rumor Roundup: March 25
Back to work
The New York Jets returned to Florham Park, New Jersey earlier this week, kicking off voluntary offseason workouts at the team’s practice facility.
Present for the first day of workouts were restricted free agent receivers Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith, both coming to an agreement on one-year tenders. Conspicuously absent however was free agent running back Leon Washington.
Earlier this week, Washington’s agent Alvin Keels tweeted that the fifth-year veteran will not sign his tender at this time and will continue to rehab as he weighs his options. Keels also added that Washington’s leg is progressing well and the 27-year-old is expected to be cleared to participate in running drills in the next two weeks.
The reason behind Washington’s reluctance to sign his tender is uncertain at this time. At the beginning of the offseason, there was a strong belief throughout the Jets’ organization that Washington would definitely be back in 2010. Now things appear that they are 50-50.
Perhaps Washington isn’t willing to accept the role of third-down back behind Shonn Greene and the newly acquired veteran LaDainian Tomlinson? There are also strong indications that Washington is still miffed over his second-round tender and feels disrespected by the organization.
According to The Star-Ledger’s Manish Mehta, Jets head coach Rex Ryan told reporters Thursday that Washington stopped working out at the team’s facility after he was given the second-round tender. Ryan also indicated that he is disappointed by Washington’s decision.
“This is a voluntary deal,” Ryan said Thursday. “He may have reasons for not being here. But the rest of the team volunteered to be here… We would love to get Leon back.”
“We (have) the No. 1 facilities in the country,”said Ryan. “We have a great medical staff. We have a great medical team. We got the best strength coach in the country. Leon knows this. That’s what’s disappointing. Wherever he’s at might be good, but it’s not the best. I want what’s best for him and for the New York Jets. This is a time when there’s team building. I love Leon, but it’s still disappointing that he’s not here.”
Restricted free agent safety James Ihedigbo, also signed his tender and was present for the first day of workouts at the facility, per a report by Newsday’s Rod Boone..
Laury added to special teams unit
Late last week, the Jets agreed to terms with free agent linebacker and special teams standout Lance Laury, formerly of the Seattle Seahawks. Laury, who served as a special teams captain in Seattle, registered 21 tackles and a forced fumble in 2009.
The 28-year-old Laury was brought in to aid a special teams unit which lost several of its key performers this offseason. Veteran Larry Izzo is likely to retire following a spinal injury, while Wallace Wright (Panthers) and Marques Murrell (Patriots) both signed on with other teams.
The 6-foot-2, 237 pound Laury signed with the Seahawks in 2006 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of South Carolina. In four NFL seasons, he has compiled 64 career tackles and two forced fumbles.
It’s the hard knock life for us…
Thursday, the Jets officially announced that the team would be participating in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series, which will chronicle the team’s 2010 training camp in Cortland.
HBO will enlist a a 24-person camera crew live at Jet’s camp to shoot over 1,000 hours of film for the series. Camera and sound crews will be given full-access to practice fields, dormitories, training rooms, and team meetings.
“We are committed to being an organization that is open and accessible,” said Jets owner Woody Johnson. “Hard Knocks serves as a tremendous vehicle for fans everywhere to receive unprecedented access and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look as we prepare for the 2010 season. HBO and NFL Films have an award-winning track record and we are excited about working with them.”
“We are delighted that ‘Hard Knocks’ will be returning this summer and placing the spotlight on charismatic Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his engaging team of proven veterans and emerging stars,” said HBO Sports president, Ross Greenburg, in a released statement.
“As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies alike during training camp. After last year’s postseason run, this is certainly a championship-caliber team with big-name talent. Get ready for some of Coach Ryan’s ‘blunt force trauma’ behind the scenes with this staff and this talent.”
“Hard Knocks has successfully traveled the country over the last several years,” said NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “There have been shows in Dallas, Baltimore, Kansas City and Cincinnati. Now we’ve got our act together – we’re finally ready to open on Broadway!”
Past “Hard Knocks” series have documented the 2001 Baltimore Ravens, 2002 and 2008 Dallas Cowboys, 2007 Kansas City Chiefs, and 2009 Cincinnati Bengals.
The hour-long, weekly series will debut Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. EST on HBO. The series will air on subsequent Wednesdays, concluding with a fifth and final episode on Sept. 8.