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
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
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
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
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."