Rumor Roundup: June 11
Conner on board
Friday, the Jets agreed to terms with fullback John Conner, their fifth round selection in April’s draft out of the University of Kentucky. According to Manish Mehta of The Daily News, the rookie signed a four-year deal worth just under $2 million. The deal also includes a $199,000 signing bonus and an escalator in the fourth year which raise the deal’s value to $2.73 million.
The team has big plans for the 5-foot-11, 245 pound Conner, who they believe to be the long-term answer at the fullback position. Veteran fullback Tony Richardson is 38 and will be entering his 16th season in 2010, which figures to also be his last.
Conner is built in the same mold as Richardson, a throwback bruiser who isn’t afraid to take on a pass rusher or two in the backfield.
Sweet Folk music
Maybe the Jets have found their answer at the kicker position, after all. It sure seemed that way Thursday as incumbent Nick Folk went an impressive 7-for-7 in the afternoon’s OTA session, according to ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini. Folk’s suprising performance included boots from 51 and 53 yards out.
“He made that 51-yarder and that 53-yarder that he nailed right down the middle,” said a relieved Rex Ryan. “Yeah, that made me feel a little better… I’m sure it made the entire New York Jet fan base feel better today.”
“He was impressive. In all fairness, he’s got a new holder (and) a new snapper. Now, the great thing is, he’s just lining up and kicking. There’s no problem.”
If Folk can return to his 2007 Pro Bowl form, it would be a huge lift for a Jets team whose one question mark going into training camp is the kicking game. Many believed that the team would pursue an established veteran before the regular season based on Folk’s erratic past.
That may not be the case now. “It looked like an extra point the way he kicked them,” boasted Ryan.
Sanchez impresses in team drills
Quarterback Mark Sanchez, coming off of arthroscopic knee surgery, participated in team drills Tuesday for the first time this offseason. You could hardly notice.
According to Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger, Sanchez showed no signs of rust, appearing comfortable and mobile in 11-on-11 drills. The former Trojan finished the day 4-f0r-6, including three consecutive completions to Jerricho Cotchery and an impressive roll-out to the newest Jet receiver, Santonio Holmes.
“It’s great, said Rex Ryan. “You don’t even worry about him. That’s how confident we are right now with where Mark is.”
“That’s just Sanchez out there. Let him go. If he gets a little close, we’ll blow the whistle. Seriously, being on the move and doing all those things, you feel great. I feel super about him.”
To say Sanchez is amped up about his return to the gridiron would be a severe understatement. After two days of real practice Sanchez says his knee is fine as wine.
“It’s felt great,” the second-year quarterback said Thursday. “Like we said during this whole rehab process, the big thing is that next day after you try something new, after you really push it one day. How’s it going to feel on Wednesday after Tuesday’s full practice? It was awesome. I hopped out of bed, came in, got my treatment, and I feel great. Now, the mental side is catching up to the physical side and I feel a lot sharper out there (with) X’s and O’s, calling plays, feeling comfortable in the huddle and really going, so I thought we had a great day today.”
Guess who’s back
Less than a week after causing quite a stir in Florham Park by skipping out on OTAs, cornerback Darrelle Revis was back on the practice field Thursday.
The 24-year-old Revis is still unhappy that an agreement on long-term contract extension hasn’t been reached, but is taking the professional approach. At least for now.
The All-Pro corner stated Thursday that he will be in attendance for next week’s three-day Mini-Camp. He wouldn’t make any assurances beyond that, according to Manish Mehta.
Revis says that there will be “changes” if a new deal isn’t worked out soon. This could include a training camp holdout.
“You’ll know. It’s not going to be hidden,” he said. “This is the time where I need to look at what I did here for three years. If things are not the right way, I need to sit back and view my career and see where I need to go from here and move on.”
“The season I had last year was crazy…So this is a lot of leverage that I do have right now to get to that second contract and get the money that you deserve. I don’t know how long I’m going to play. I could have broken an ankle out there or tore a knee up and my career could have been over.”