Calling all Jets fans
Bradway's phone rings in start of training campPosted: Monday July 21, 2003 4:48 PM
This is the first in a series of postcards SI.com's Don Banks will e-mail from his annual NFL training camp tour.
Monday, July 21
Team: N.Y. Jets
2. Newly signed defensive tackle Chester McGlockton, 33, is here at training camp, but he's not doing much of anything so far. Wearing shorts and a T-shirt, McGlockton watched both of Monday's workouts without taking part. To put it delicately, he's not in football shape just yet. Listed on the roster as weighing 334 pounds, McGlockton, the former Raider, former Chief, former Bronco is said to have approached 375 pounds when he weighed in last week, just before joining the Jets.
Head coach Herm Edwards acknowledged that McGlockton won't practice any time this week, and some believe it may be two games into the Jets' five-game preseason schedule before he's fit to play. McGlockton's body fat reading is said to be about 22 percent. Said one wise-cracking Jets beat writer upon spying New York's big new acquisition on Monday, "So that's why the sun isn't out today."
3. Curtis Martin is among the most articulate and intelligent of Jets. He thinks before he talks and speaks in complete sentences. But sometimes we're harshly reminded that football players aren't all that attuned to what's going on in the rest of the world. Asked if he was excited about the Jets' upcoming trip to Japan for the Aug. 2 preseason opener against Tampa Bay, Martin expressed hopes that the SARS epidemic has been cleared up in Japan.
Assured that SARS had swept through China, not Japan, Martin brightened considerably, saying, "Then I'm really looking forward to that trip to Japan."
4. Smart thing the Jets did this year, switching to the new artificial surface called Field Turf for training camp at Hofstra. The same stuff is scheduled to be installed at Giants Stadium, following last season's debacle of a natural grass playing surface. Remember how hopelessly chewed up the Giants and Jets' home field was late in 2002? It won't happen again, which is downright pivotal for an NFL stadium that's in use 17 weekends a year. Also, the Jets also have Field Turf in their practice bubble in Hempstead, giving them a rare bit of uniformity in the footing department.
5. The quote of the day was issued by one Vincent Frank Testaverde, who'll turn 40 in November. Now the Jets' backup quarterback behind Chad Pennington, the 17-year NFL veteran is sliding gracefully into a new role. Testaverde, wearing a T-shirt that said "Get your mind right," had this to say about entering camp as a backup for the first time since 1993 in Cleveland:
"Hey, I'm still here, and I'm happy about it. I think being around a lot of young kids keeps me young. As long as Chad plays well, I'll have a long career."
That's why I've always liked Vinny Testaverde.
6. The Jets' starting free safety this year is projected to be second-year man Jon McGraw, a second-round pick in 2002 out of Kansas State.
Jon McGraw. In New York. Perfect. If only the Jets played at the Polo Grounds.
7. Britney Alert. Miss Spears, that diva of pop music, is headed to Jets camp at some point this summer. It's part of her promotional duties for the NFL Kickoff Weekend concert she'll give in Washington on Sept. 4, when the Jets and Redskins open the season at FedEx Field. Spears is also scheduled to make the scene at Redskins camp in the coming weeks.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
"He's a productive guy, and he's quick," Edwards said. "He's going to get a long look with us, you bet. Going to get a real long look, like long, long look. Like real long. I think he's a good football player, I really do. I just think he's got a little something to him. I think the players feel that too."
"We've got to have more offensive plays," he said. "That's not enough."
What, no Emerson Boozer? And yes, if you're wondering, the entire set of five covers can be purchased. The media guides will be issued Tuesday, and I'm guessing you'll see six complete sets listed on eBay by noon. At the latest.
Imoto, 27, played college ball in Japan, for Ritsumeikan, that longtime Far East football powerhouse. Just kidding about that last bit. The first thing you tell me about the Ritsumeikan program will be the sum extent of my knowledge on that topic. But then you knew that.
The language barrier is a significant problem for Imoto, who wears No. 9, but the Jets are doing their part in that department. Tak Makita, a local Japanese photographer who has shot Jets games for years is filling the role of interpreter for Imoto. At one point in Monday morning's opening workout of camp, Makita was beckoned from the sideline to tell Imoto that he needed to stay closer to the Jets other receivers during segment drills.
After the morning practice session, Imoto stayed on the field for some extra work with Jets receivers coach Mike Canales. From what I saw, Imoto has decent hands and a big enough body to play in the NFL, but he needs to work on his route-running skills.
It wasn't exactly an Ichiro-like mob scene, but there were a handful of Japanese photographers on hand Monday to record Imoto's first full day in Jets camp. And with New York's preseason opener against the Bucs in Tokyo on tap, Imoto figures to be a huge story in Japan.
"I'm going to try and get him the ball," Jets head coach Herman Edwards said, laughing. "I'm going to feed him. I'm going to feed him, man. I'm going to make him a star."
And Imoto isn't all alone in his quest to become an international NFL star. The Jets also have Mexican receiver Carlos Rosado in camp. Rosado also played in NFL Europe this season, and starred collegiately at the University of the Americas in his native Mexico City.
Guess it's a small world, after all.
Check back soon for more of Don Banks' Postcards from Camp.