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Jets Get Camp Off to a Big Start by Signing the Big Man

By Mark Hove
JetsInsider.com Senior Writer
July 20th, 2003
Putting an exclamation point on this season's "kickoff day," when all players are to report to camp, the New York Jets announced the signing of 2003 first round pick DeWayne Robertson. Here's what Jets General Manager Terry Bradway and Robertson had to say at Sunday's Introductory Press Conference.

General Manager Terry Bradway (TB): "I want to thank everyone for their patience. These things aren't done until they are done and maybe we were a little enthusiastic about trying to get it done at 2:30. But, with Herm's press conference and the team meeting at 4:00, it was a little difficult to do that. But, we are pleased to announce the signing of our number one pick Dewayne Robertson, along with our entire 2003 draft class. Starting tomorrow we will have our entire rookie draft class on the field at the beginning of practice. Like I said before it's important because we expect these guys to contribute this season. In Dewayne's case, he has an excellent opportunity to step in and be starter. There are two things we want him to accomplish heading into the season... 1) Shore up the run defense and 2) Get some pressure on the quarterback. We feel like we will be able to do that with Dewayne and the addition of Chester (McGlockton).

Q: Was the delay because of paperwork?

TB: "Yes. We just needed to fine-tune the contract, nothing real difficult. Mike (Tannenbaum) and Hadley (Englehardt) did a good job on this on. There's give and take in all negotiations and we won't sit here and discuss the terms or the length, but I'm sure it'll all get out when it hits the league. Their communication began back around draft time and they've met on numerous occasions face-to-face and I think that had a lot to do with this getting done. Both sides wanted to work to get it done and both felt it was important for Dewayne to be here on time so that he could start off on the right foot with his teammates. There will be hold-outs this season, I'm sure, but I have never been in a situation where a hold-out was a good thing. You can never recapture those days lost in training camp... it's the foundation for the whole season and I'm thrilled. I know Dewayne wants to be here, too."

Q: You've had a good track record of getting your players in here and signed on time. Why is that?

TB: "I think a lot of the credit goes to Mike (Tannenbaum). He has a good relationship with a lot of the agents and he deals with them in a way that you can get a deal done. Like I said, there are good points and bad points on each side of the negotiation, but that is what makes a deal a good one. I think that has something to do with it. Mike hasn't had a hold-out in the last six years."

Q: Was there a point where you thought this might not get done in time for the beginning of camp?

TB: "I didn't want to play it one way or the other. I was confident in knowing what was going on with Mike and Hadley and was confident that it was working in a positive way. Fortunately, it was able to work out."

Q: Last year Hadley had a player holdout until just before the start of the regular season. Were you afraid that might happen this season.

TB: "I think that situation might have been a little bit different, but that was a little bit of a concern. Once we talked to Hadley and knew what was going on with the situation and met Dewayne and his parents, we felt confident and made a move to go get the fourth pick and felt good about it knew that's what we wanted to do and I'm glad it worked out."

Q: How important was it for Dewayne not to miss any time?

TB: "He'll realize it as we go forward and he gets into the regular season. History will tell you that it's very important. If it is significant time, I don't know if anyone ever recovers from that in their first season. That's the history, there is a chance of injury when guys don't come in on time and I think that is also the case with veterans. You build such a foundation that only as a player going through it can you appreciate it."

Q: How do you feel about your team right now?

TB: "We feel good. I like our team and I know Herm feels the same way. We are going to try to win football games and I know that we have been through a lot our first two years here and hit some rough spots here and there. Somehow, someway in both years we found a way to come out of it. We've had a good character group in there and the fun thing now is to go on the field and start playing football. We don't have to talk about it anymore and we can go play and the focus is on the players and the young players and the stories of the young guys trying to make the team and the veterans trying to find their niche and get better. We feel good about that and confident that we can do well."

Defensive Tackle Dewayne Robertson (DR)

Q: "How important was it for you to get here on time?"

(DR): "It was a big issue. Being up here for mini-camp was just three days and those three days we got a lot done and I knew that missing a few days of training camp would get me started off on the wrong foot. So, I wanted to get in and get it done."

Q: "Has it hit you yet the amount of money that you are going to get and the pressure that you will be faced with?"

DR: "Not really. I'm just here to do a job and get paid for doing what I love to do."

Q: "Did you think you might have to holdout?

DR: "Dealing with my agent and knowing that he had a holdout last year but dealing with the Jets and knowing that they didn't have a holdout, it was kind of in-between do I didn't know what to expect."

Q: "Given Josh Evans' situation, do you feel like you have a golden opportunity?"

DR: "I feel bad for Josh but things happen and I'm just here to do a job. If my job was to come in and back up Josh, that's what I would have done. If my job is to come in and play right away, that's what I'll do."

Q: "What have you been doing since you left?

DR: "Basically spending time with my family and getting ready for the season."

Q: Were you working out in Memphis? If so, what were you doing?

DR: Yes. I got out on my old high school field and really tried to push myself.

Q: Talk about the pressure you feel.

DR: "I'm the type of person that knows I've got to get better each year. I know I didn't want to have a worse season than I did last year in college. I have high expectations for myself."

Q: How relieved were you when your agent said the deal was completed?

DR: It was a big relief. I called my parents and told them that I was leaving today and they were so happy for me. It felt like a big brick off my back."

Q: Are you looking forward to 2-a-days?

DR: I don't think football would be football without 2-a-days. Everybody has to get through it, from the greatest players to the free agents. Everyone has to deal with it. That's what makes football, football."

Q: How are you going to spend your money?

DR: "I have no idea."

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