FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets owner Woody Johnson unexpectedly showed up for practice Thursday at the team’s Atlantic Health training center and met with members of the media for roughly 10 minutes. Covering a myriad of topics from the untimely death of NFL pioneer Art Modell, the recent circus show label placed by pundits and if the home opener would be sold out, Johnson was calm and even-keeled delivering one poignantly neutral quote after another.
Here’s a transcribed view of his words and thoughts.
On the death of former Browns/Ravens owner Art Modell:
Art was one of the first people I met when I got approved by the NFL. He was a man who was extremely critical in building a great relationship with network television business – one of the first pioneers in structuring the relationship between the two. I remember going to one of my first games [as Jets owner] down in Baltimore and he invited me into his suite. I just kind of stayed there for the game. I didn’t know I was supposed to go back over to my own. You don’t know what you’re doing really when you first get in this business. He was so gracious, as well as his wife. He had a great sense of humor. He’s just a real leader, pioneer type of guy. I have so much respect for him. It’s a big loss. He was major in the development of the NFL itself.
Whenever you do that, you’re not going to be popular in Cleveland. But overall, if you look at his body of work in the NFL, he’ll be way up there in terms of respect from both players and the guys that knew him.
On the Jets being labeled a “Circus Show”:
I think that’s all [the media]. I think we’re deadly serious about winning here. We learned this in the third grade, you know, sticks and stones and all that. That’s all that is, really. I don’t think it’s a circus environment, I think it’s a winning environment.
No, I’m not really bothered by. This is New York, so everything is going to be scrutinized.
On his predictions for the Jets & if this is a playoff team:
I’m not going to make any predictions, but I go into every season thinking we won’t lose any games. I arrive on gameday thinking we will win.
I definitely think [we have a playoff caliber team]. You take a look at our offensive line and we have three Pro Bowlers. Nobody else has that. We got a string of running backs that all do something a little different. We got receivers that are as gifted as anybody. We have a lot of great weapons, starting with the quarterback. [in regards to this being a playoff caliber team.
On if they have sold out for Sunday’s game against the Bills:
We will not be blacked out. Have we sold every single seat? No, but we will not be blacked out.
On him stating that “you can never have enough Tim Tebow” in a previous interview:
I don’t want to get into too much detail about it, because I thought it was a humorous joke. But we have 53 guys are on the roster here. Everybody is important. We’re happy we have him and we’re happy we have the other 52 guys. Our job is to team build. I didn’t mean anything by it other than a humorous remark.
On his confidence in Rex Ryan & whether he has more faith in Mitt Romney:
I have a lot of confidence in both [Ryan & Mitt Romney]. I’m very confident in Rex Ryan. You just have to look at his body of work. It’s unparalleled in our history.