|Jets open camp with disgruntled Kendall and without first-rounder Revis|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 27 July 2007 11:22|
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Eric Mangini's second training camp as coach of the New York Jets opened with a disgruntled veteran on the field and the team's first-round pick unsigned.|
Already known for running a tough camp, Mangini already has some controversy to deal with.
``I'm sure they look forward to (camp),'' a noticeably thinner Mangini said with a grin Friday after the morning practice. ``Most kids like to go to camp and this is just our adult version of camp. We probably won't be telling any ghost stories, but I think it'll be a good time for everybody.''
Well, not quite. Left guard Pete Kendall, who asked the Jets months ago to trade or release him because of a bitter contract dispute, was with the team at practice, but was far from happy.
Then again, at least he was there. Cornerback Darrelle Revis, the No. 14 overall pick in April, became the Jets' first unsigned first-round no-show for the start of training camp since linebacker James Farrior in 1997.
``We're going to focus on the guys that are here,'' Mangini said. ``And we're going to focus on those guys and get them better, and collectively get better.''
Kendall, an offensive co-captain who turned 34 earlier this month, is looking for a $1 million raise on his $1.7 million salary, but the Jets haven't budged.
``I have nothing to add,'' Neil Schwartz, Kendall's agent, told The Associated Press when asked for comment.
Instead of staying away from camp, Kendall thought it made more financial sense to report because he would lose $14,000 each day he's absent. So, as he did during minicamp, he kneeled on the turf by himself at times and watched the first-team offense go through drills.
``To me, a holdout's a negotiation tactic,'' he said. ``There's no negotiation, so at this point, it doesn't make a lot of sense for me to start giving money back.''
Instead, Kendall again recently requested that the Jets trade or release him.
``I don't understand why I'm still here,'' he said. ``I've clearly expressed that I don't want to be here. I'm running with the second team. It's seemingly devolved into a personal thing. I show up and I'm assigned to the rookie dorm. I don't get that.''
After speaking with Mangini and general manager Mike Tannenbaum, Kendall had his living quarters changed. Just a big mistake, Mangini said.
``There's no conspiracy theory here,'' Mangini deadpanned. ``There's no grassy knoll. I didn't send out secret agents. It was a mix-up. It was fixed. It's been changed.''
But maybe too late to smooth over hard feelings.
``To me, the writing's on the wall with where I'm taking my snaps and whoever it was in the building felt like they must've been pleasing Eric and Mike to stick me in the rookie dorm,'' Kendall said. ``It's little things like that. I mean, come on. It's comical to the point of absurd at this point.''
When it was pointed out that Kendall practiced with the first team at times during minicamp, Kendall flashed his familiar sense of humor - without cracking a smile.
``Yeah, I get a chance to take a few varsity reps every now and again,'' he said. ``I guess I'm a pledge on probationary period. I might get a letter jacket maybe later. I don't know.''
While it appears Kendall's future will be somewhere other than with the Jets, the team is hoping to get Revis - whose agent also is Schwartz - in camp. Once he signs, Revis is expected to compete for the starting job at right cornerback, a position Justin Miller, David Barrett, Hank Poteat and Drew Coleman all took turns at.
``No comment,'' said Schwartz, when asked if the sides were anywhere close to an agreement.
Coming off a successful first season in which the team went 10-6 and made the playoffs, the Jets enter camp with most of the same personnel back, a bona fide running back in Thomas Jones, and a better understanding of what it's like to play for Mangini.
``I don't think it's easier,'' linebacker Jonathan Vilma said with a laugh. ``But you definitely know what to expect with him. You know what to expect, and we know it's going to be hard.''
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