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Thread: NYP Costello: Kenrick staying focused on football after jail stint

  1. #1
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    Sep 2003

    NYP Costello: Kenrick staying focused on football after jail stint

    When Kenrick Ellis sat in a Virginia jail cell for three weeks, the last thing he could think about was football. The Jets’ second-year nose tackle just wanted to make it to July 9, the day of his release.

    “My mindset was to make it through the situation I was in,” Ellis said last week. “Football wasn’t on my mind. I was just trying to make sure I could get up the next morning and go do the things that you had to do in there just to get into a routine.

    “If you think about the stuff that you lost and don’t have you’re just going to make it a lot worse. You have to check your environment and just realize your reality at that moment.”

    Ellis pleaded guilty in May to assault and battery after facing felony charges from a 2010 fight while he was a college student at Hampton University. He entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors could prove a case against him. Under the agreement, his sentence was split so he would not miss any football. He served 23 days already and will serve the remaining 22 beginning March 1.

    The 24-year-old has put jail out of his mind now. He is concentrating on football, and it shows. Ellis wowed coaches in the preseason with how much better he looks than he did as a rookie.

    “If you poll anybody who is the most improved player on defense, it’s not even close,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said.

    Ellis’ improvement did not happen by accident. He sought out veteran linebacker Bart Scott at the end of last season to help him train. The two live near each other and work out at the same gym. They began working out together in February, doing MMA training and boxing 2-3 times a week plus weightlifting beginning at 6 a.m. daily.

    “He showed humility,” Scott said. “He was willing to listen and learn.”

    When Ellis reported to the team’s offseason program in April, he looked like a different player. He weighed about 330 pounds, the same as he had as a rookie but had turned fat into muscle. He credits Scott with teaching him what it takes to play in the NFL.

    “My concentration was to just work my butt off so I could compete at an NFL level,” Ellis said. “When you’re a rookie you’re competing at a college level until you get it. When you’re a rookie you don’t know that you don’t know. Once you get how hard you have to work you just put the rest together. This is a big boys’ league. If you don’t work, you won’t make it here.”

    Ellis has now regained the confidence he lost during a tough rookie year, when he played in only five games.

    “Last year I came in very confident,” Ellis said. “Then, after preseason and camp I had no confidence at all. This year, I feel like I’m back to where I understand what’s going onI feel like I’m finally back to myself, which is what got me here.”

    Sione Po’uha is still the Jets’ starting nose tackle, but with the team playing more four-man fronts, Ellis should see a lot of playing time this season.

    Scott has watched Ellis work and gotten to know him. He worries people have the wrong idea about Ellis because of his legal problems.

    “He’s a great kid,” Scott said. “He’s respectful. He’s humble. He’s a big teddy bear. That one incident, which I have my own opinion about, is not indicative of who he is. If that’s all people read or know about him, that’s not who he is.”

    You have to say one thing about Bart, the other young players look to him alot for advice/training..I know Ducasse has too

  2. #2
    Costello has been writing some great articles

    Scott is a good leader on our defense and its great to hear about him and Ellis

  3. #3
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    Oct 2011
    New York
    Thanks for posting the article.

    Expecting big things from Baby Jenks this year. He looks like a different player. He is in better shape and is playing fast. I think knowing that his future is stable and having Dunbar as a coach have really helped him.

  4. #4
    All League
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    Apr 2003
    Great article.

    Jets are always stout against the run, but this year's run D might take it to a new level.

  5. #5
    Hall of Fame
    Charter JI Member

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    May 1999
    Atlanta via NJ
    great read

    Props to both Ellis and Bart


  6. #6
    Good article. Scott really showing leadership here.

  7. #7
    Undrafted Free Agent
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Green Frozen North
    Great read
    Thx for posting C Mart

    Dunbar was a huge pickup for us and will help the line

  8. #8
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    Jan 2008
    I truly believe Scott is our only leader. Its too bad David Harris is not the same type of personality ... If you could take the two and combine the best parts of both ... OMG. Scott may be in his sat year as a Jet ... Someone else needs to step it up on the leadership dept.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2004
    Well, if in fact Bart Scott is the reason for Ellis playing so much better, we owe him some serious ups.

    .The Kenrick Ellis that I've been watching in TC, was always a guy who had potential, he played well albeit briefly in his rookie year, but now? He's a menace.

    The difference in the play at the LOS is like night and day. He's a disruptive animal.

    In my heart of hearts, I never believed the Jets would Kris Jenkins comparable play out of Ellis. However, I saw flashes of Kris Jenkins out of him.

    Now it's important that people do not get there expectations out of hand. Ellis was playing preseason games against players that probably are no longer in the league. He won't be that disruptive against the starters of the NFL.

    But it should be interesting. He's improved his play enormously and who knows how much more improvement he has in him?

    One thing I do know is he's going to see a lot more playing time this season and rightfully so.

  10. #10
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Dunnie View Post
    I truly believe Scott is our only leader. Its too bad David Harris is not the same type of personality ... If you could take the two and combine the best parts of both ... OMG. Scott may be in his sat year as a Jet ... Someone else needs to step it up on the leadership dept.
    One day that person will be Demario Davis. I think once he learns the playbook, he is a combination of both of them, but faster.

    Despite his inability to cover the TE and his inconsistent play, this is a reason to be happy that Scott is still here.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Anybody have a last year vs. this year (TC) picture of Ellis? I'd love to see what he's turned his body into this year at TC, compared to when we got him last year.

    From the details I heard about the "incident" in Virginia, he was defending himself, but that's neither here nor there. I'm just saying I have confidence (based off his willingness to improve and take whatever snaps were given to him in the preseason, without complaint), I don't think we'll have any other "personality" issues with this guy.

    I think the combo of him, Wilks (in his second year) and the freak that is Quinton Coples, we're going to have a scary good D-Line for years to come, which is a nice departure from the crew that has been simply "getting the job done" in recent years past.


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