Despite an uncomfortable contract situation, Jets RB Leon Washington remains a classy team player. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
Leon Washington has put on a show since coming to camp and it hasn’t been the drama you might have expected, considering his last minute arrival in the cloak of darkness that resembled one of a foreign diplomat arriving in a hostile country. On the contrary; as soon as the dawn arrived on the first day of Jets training camp, Leon Washington put on a performance, treating the wide-eyed spectators to an action flick.
From his opening run for the coaches at 6am, which left Rex Ryan with a smile wider than the chasm facing the difference in the Jets’ offer and Leon’s agent’s expectations, Leon made his case for a revamped contract on the field. Once the Jets organization smacked Leon with the first of a $17,000.oo a day fine, Leon saw in black and white and maybe more importantly, green, that his holdout for more money and a restructured contract was going nowhere fast.
“It came down to thinking about the opportunity that I had to play football and how fortunate I am to play football,” said Washington. The contract situation is going to be lengthy, the same situation it was in the spring. I decided to come out here to play with my teammates, and it is important that we have that camaraderie. That was my decision”
And what a decision it was! Playing with reckless abandonment, mixing gutsy runs with sure footed catches, Leon Washington stood out on a field full of coveted free agents and highly touted rookies. Not only did he finish plays like Sunday was the season opener, but he made sure to add some flair to his yards after catch, mixing showboating jukes and sprints at the end of almost every play to the crowds cheers and his teammates’ jubilation.
What’s more? Leon participated more than even the coaches thought he would at this point and none was more elated to witness his concentration and commitment than Rex Ryan. On asked of his play Leon was very happy with his performance and the statement it made to all the doubters.
“That goes to show how much I love football,” said Washington. “This morning I didn’t do much at all (except) the warm-up and individuals. I was missing it, so I decided to come out here today and play football and help my teammates out. If there is any question that Leon loves to play football, I definitely love to do it. Rex sees that, the organization sees that and my teammates see that.”
Though his play was even better than expected and the action was fast and furious through the morning practice of day two, one can’t help but feel a sequel to the only real drama in Jets training camp; Leon Washington holding out and not dresses in uniform for the opening kickoff. For when asked about his commitment to staying the duration of camp and suiting up for the season, regardless of his contract situation, Leon left a possible trailer of the worse possible movie of the summer, ”Leon Leaving”
“I’m not going to say,” said Washington. “I am going to let the situation play out. I don’t want to say anything and don’t do it or say something that I am going to do and not do that. I’m going to let the situation play out. Hopefully the organization feels the way I feel. I want to be a Jet and get the deal done.”