|11-07-2008, 05:17 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Ormond Beach, Florida
Jenkins makes an impact on Jets' defensive line- Journal News
Jenkins makes an impact on Jets' defensive line
By Jane McManus
The Journal News • November 7, 2008
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Kris Jenkins has one of the more intricate tattoos to stretch over the brawny frame of an NFL lineman, which is saying a lot. The Jets' beefy nose tackle already had several pieces of body art when he decided on something for his left arm, but he took a long time to figure out what he wanted to put on such valuable real estate.
In the end, he chose an Egyptian pharaoh, as regally detailed as a drawing in an old encyclopedia. The decision was as methodical as the way he has been plowing through offensive lines for the Jets this season.
And like the pharaohs of old, Jenkins has been rewarded with modern-day gold and monuments. When he was acquired from Carolina, the Jets negotiated a five-year, $35 million deal. After his 1 1/2 sacks and suffocating pressure in a win over the Bills last week, he was named AFC defensive player of the week.
The 349-pound, 6-foot-4 Jenkins has taken the Jets to new heights. Last season the Jets were near the bottom of the NFL in run defense. This week, after allowing the Bills to gain just 30 yards on the ground, the Jets are ranked fourth in the category, giving up an average of 76 yards per game.
"I totally understood that this was a grunt position and I just need to do what I have to do to be the best that I can to help the team out," Jenkins said. "But that is not something that you think you are going to get from a nose-tackle position, so I appreciate it, but still it's like a part of me is in the back of my mind like, 'OK, you got to shake that off real quick because you might not see this ever again, so enjoy it for a second, breathe.' This is the stuff that you talk about when you retire."
Things didn't end well for the 29-year-old at Carolina. He missed some offseason workouts, and his already-sizable frame expanded. Jenkins made a decision to change his eating habits, and cooks healthier foods - not just for football, but to be there for his three young sons.
When Jenkins is home, he rolls on the floor with Jesse, who will celebrate his first birthday in just a few days.
"When I leave I'm not doing anything that's Hollywood," Jenkins said. "I go home and take care of my family."
The only possible cloud is a recurring back injury that took him out of a game against San Diego early. In his absence, the Jets lost 48-29 and gave up 107 yards rushing and 250 passing.
He admits that he hasn't always been diplomatic in the past. His candor has gotten him in trouble before, but now he tries to choose his words more carefully. Jenkins said in the past, criticizing management and words about his teammates taken out of context had haunted him.
"When I talk to ya'll, I don't try to be a robot," Jenkins said. "But I try to make sure I do it the right way."
With his engaging personality, moving into the New York market has been good for Jenkins. It has upped his profile in a relatively unheralded position, and his performance has done the rest. Since the Bills game, he's gotten phone calls from close friends and been recognized even when he isn't wearing No. 77.
"I didn't realize I was a celebrity," Jenkins said with a smile.
Notes: Linebacker David Harris was at the Jets' facility yesterday, although he didn't practice. Head coach Eric Mangini refused to comment on reports that Harris underwent surgery on his injured groin on Wednesday. ... Place-kicker Mike Nugent (limited with a thigh injury) has been kicking in practice. Tight end Bubba Franks (hip) rode the bike. Safety Eric Smith (head) was not practicing.
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