HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -David Barrett tried to forget the injuries that nagged him. The results on the field were constant reminders.
The New York Jets cornerback struggled the past two seasons to be the player he once was, and opposing offenses noticed. Barrett was often a target of quarterbacks and injuries prevented him from performing up to his own standards.
``It was tough,'' Barrett said Friday. ``In your mind, you know you're not 100 percent, but no one else knows that, though. You've got to go out there and perform like you're 100 percent and for me, that was kind of a tough thing for me to do, but I got through it.''
Finally healthy, Barrett has been mostly solid in his first three games. In his eighth NFL season, and fourth with the Jets, he leads the team with 24 tackles - 22 solo - while starting at right cornerback.
``It's more me wanting to prove to myself that last year, I did pretty good, but this year I'm 100 percent and I can get the job done even better this year,'' he said.
Midway through the 2005 season, Barrett suffered a cut in one of his eyes when he was poked during a game against San Diego. The injury sidelined him for three games and still bothered him when he returned. He finished with 54 tackles and a career-high five interceptions, but looked forward to healing in the offseason.
Then, Barrett injured his hip early last season and was inactive for three games. He lost his hold on the starting job at right cornerback and finished with 36 tackles, his lowest total since his rookie season with Arizona in 2000.
``David's a very consistent person and player,'' coach Eric Mangini said. ``His situation has been not as consistent going through the injury. That changed some things, but I like his approach and I liked David when he was in college. He's been the same guy throughout the course of his career.''
Mangini showed confidence in the veteran when he started him in the season finale against Oakland and again in the playoff game at New England.
``It was just me being the type of person I am,'' said Barrett, one of the quietest guys in the Jets' locker room. ``For me, whether you're hurt or not, you've got to go out there and do your job. That's how I felt about the situation. Whether I was hurt or not, I've still got to go out to perform.''
There were some doubts early in training camp whether that would be with the Jets. Trade rumors began after New York drafted Darrelle Revis in the first round. The move was thought to be a chance for the Jets to upgrade their secondary - and the 29-year-old Barrett appeared to be the odd-man out.
``I always look at it like this: No one's position in this league is ever pretty much secure,'' he said. ``You've always got to go out there and perform in order to get their attention and their approval to be out there on the field.''
Veteran Andre Dyson started every game at left cornerback last season until he was injured in Week 15, but the right side was a different story. Barrett, Justin Miller, Hank Poteat and rookie Drew Coleman all took turns in the starting lineup.
Some fans wondered if Barrett had lost a step and figured he'd be a backup, at best.
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Revis has been everything the Jets expected while starting at left cornerback. Meanwhile, Barrett has reclaimed his spot in the right side. He has been tested by teams - a lot more than Revis - and has done enough to remain in the starting lineup.
``This has been good, man,'' Barrett said. ``It's a learning experience. You go out there and you know you're going to have some bad plays and you know you're going to have some great plays. You just have to go out there and have a positive attitude.''

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