Jets linebackers likely to play last game together after four successful years
By Mike Vorkunov/The Star-Ledger
on December 28, 2012 at 7:26 PM, updated December 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM Print
This will likely be the last game together for the Jets' linebackers.
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger
Saturday night, as they have done for every road game, Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott, David Harris and Calvin Pace will get together for dinner at some yet-to-be-determined restaurant in Buffalo. Not the most expensive one but the one with the honest-to-goodness best food. In the past, they’ve gone to a steakhouse, a barbeque joint, or for seafood – though the worst one they’ve experienced was in Toronto when sardines were the delicacy of choice.
And they’ll talk.
“Reminisce about the good, the bad, talk (smack) to each other,” Thomas said.
“We go out, talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives. What’s going on throughout the team and the season – everything. Whatever we talk about we talk about.”
It will probably be the last one for the four. Last week, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine admitted the reality that this will likely be the last game the four linebackers will be together four. They’ve been the Jets’ starting unit since Bart Scott came to the team along with Rex Ryan. They’ve been in the middle of a No. 1 defense and the core of one of the most successful periods in the franchise’s history.
But the end is near. Scott and Pace are 32 years old and Thomas is 33 – and as Pettine noted, the economics of the league will help break them apart as well.
The four have come to be as much friends as teammates. During the season, the linebackers would sometimes get together at Scott’s house to watch Monday Night Football, eat, and play pool. It’s another tradition that will likely be broken.
“Things change,” said Thomas, who is doubtful for tomorrow due to a chest injury. “Us four have been together four years. It’s been great playing with them guys. But (that’s) how this game and this business works.”
Thomas has already been hit by the cruel nature of the NFL this season. He was cut for a weekend in September when he was injured and the Jets needed a roster spot. He received texts asking what happened and simply replied that he would return that Monday after the game.
“You forget that it’s a business because you start to form a bond with people,” Thomas said. “Guys and staff and coaches and management will be around so long that you forget its business and start to form a bond between them. Relationships and friendships on down the line and you forget those things. When that happened, reality set back in. But it’s over with. I have no regrets.”