Many professional football players are known for their work on the field.  Very few of these players, however, are known for their work off the field as well.  New York Jets cornerback, Ellis Lankster, makes his mark in both areas.

Signed by the Jets in 2011, Lankster makes his presence on the field known with his solid tackling and lightning speed.  He constantly pushes himself to be a driving force that delivers for his team.  His personal strength conditioning coach, Vince McConnell, has said in his thirty years of coaching, Lankster is his all-time favorite player to work with—not just because of his professional accomplishments and not just because of his great athleticism, but also because of his intense dedication to his teammates and his willingness to keep learning.

It is important to note that Lankster has chosen to follow along a trail of dedication in all aspects of his life.  He is a man of results.  He is a man of commitment.  And he is a man of purpose.  Besides being dedicated to the New York Jets during the season, he mentors younger athletes, specifically high school and college players, during the off-season.  By working one-on-one with them in order to improve their football skills, the young players benefit along with their coaches.

But there is something else about Lankster—something that distinguishes him from other dedicated athletes in the National Football League.  Lankster suffers from severe stuttering, a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions, prolongations, or abnormal stoppages of sounds and syllables.  It is a disorder Lankster has had to deal with every single day since he learned to speak.  It is a disorder that has caused Lankster years of ridicule.  And it is a disorder that Lankster refused to let prevent him from achieving his dream of playing professional football.

He vividly remembers his own difficulties with stuttering as a child, especially in the classroom—the constant teasing by classmates—the constant name-calling—and the constant uncertainty of teachers as to how to handle him.  The end result for Lankster was withdrawal and a lack of participation in classroom discussions.  In an interview with the National Stuttering Association’s magazine, Letting Go, he painfully recalls not raising his hand, even when he knew the answers.  Rejection tore through his soul.

Now, Lankster is determined that every child who stutters should feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  The doors of opportunity should remain open regardless of one’s struggles with fluency.  He is committed to providing hope to children who stutter by inspiring them to attain their dreams by overcoming the obstacles they face.  In fact, Lankster was honored this past May by the Stuttering Foundation, the world’s leading charitable organization helping those who stutter.  He was recognized for the inspiration he brings to the stuttering community.

By sharing his story, Lankster plays an active role in awareness, illuminating a path to endless possibilities.  For many children, having a role model such as Lankster, who has lived with stuttering, is all the inspiration they need.  He is an example for children that stuttering does not mean you cannot live your dream.  He is proof that any goal can be attained.

As children watch him during interviews and press conferences, it should be clear that self-acceptance transcends challenges such as stuttering.  Even as an adult, the ridicule continues, but instead of shying away from the media and spotlight, Lankster does the opposite—he seeks it out.  It is important to him for children to see him grab the bull by the horns.

I have spoken so far of Lankster’s dedication and inspiration, but it is his philanthropy that also sets him apart from the rest.  As part of his mission to give back, Lankster donates his time to the Stuttering Foundation, speaking with adults and children.  As a New York Jet, he is given two tickets to every home game.  While most players give these tickets to family and friends, Lankster donates them to the Stuttering Foundation.  In turn, they are given to a child who suffers from stuttering.

He continuously reaches beyond the boundaries to benefit those in need.  This past Thanksgiving, Lankster donated 100 turkeys to a community outreach program in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.  His generosity is like a glimmering ray of hope.

And his philanthropy does not end there.  Lankster is also in the process of organizing a charitable, celebrity/athlete basketball event that should take place within the next two months to raise money for the U.S. troops still stationed in Afghanistan.  He does not give to others out of pity but rather he would pity not giving to others.

I am proud to say that I have personally come to know Ellis Lankster.  After developing a relationship with him through my sports coverage on Twitter, I had the opportunity to meet him at the Jets’ training camp this past summer in Cortland, New York. We have continued to stay in touch.  It is difficult to figure out which is bigger, Lankster’s smile or his heart.

Ellis Lankster is worthy of praise because of his dedication both to his team and to younger athletes, his inspiration to the stuttering community, and his philanthropy to many charitable organizations.

So, let us honor a hero that has taught us to look past our limitations—a hero that has taught us that we have the power to believe—a hero that has taught us that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.  Ellis Lankster continues to bring hope to others and shines a spotlight on what is possible.

Tags: NYJets

The Jets have finally reached their bye week, and it's probably at the right time after a dreadful loss to the Tampa Buccaneers. The guys discuss the defeat, as well as a recap of the season so far.

Click below to listen

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 (Steve Nesius/AP)
(Steve Nesius/AP)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Friday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice on Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

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Jets mid-season awards 00:05:26
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at Gang Green's first half and hand out their mid-season awards.

The Jets Nation crew take a look back at Gang Green's first half and hand out their mid-season awards.


Jets mid-season report cards 00:09:19
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at the Jets' first half of the campaign and hand out their mid-season report cards.

Former Jets LB and current SNY Jets contributor Chad Cascadden gives his midseason grades.

Tune in to the Jets Nation Midseason report tonight at 6:30 on SNY!


Offense Overall: (C)

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Wednesday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice next Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

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Current state of the Jets 00:02:37
Jon Hein and Willie Colon break down the current outlook for the Jets after their recent loss to Tampa Bay that dropped them to 4-6.

Jon Hein and Willie Colon break down the current outlook for the Jets after their recent loss to Tampa Bay that dropped them to 4-6.


NY Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff as the Jets get in practice at the Jets Training Facility during training camp in Florham Park, NJ on Aug. 8, 2011 (William Perlman (USA Today))
NY Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff as the Jets get in practice at the Jets Training Facility during training camp in Florham Park, NJ on Aug. 8, 2011 (William Perlman (USA Today))

Mike Westhoff, who had been working for SNY as Jets contributor, is coming out of retirement to join the Saints as a coach.

The 69-year old Westhoff, who was a special teams coach for the Jets from 2001 to 2012, is joining the Saints in the same capacity.

"I didn't want to regret something I didn't try," Westhoff said, according to the NY Post.

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Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons tackles New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons tackles New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Wednesday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice next Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Robby Anderson, Steve McLendon
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 (Jerry Lai)
(Jerry Lai)

Former Jet Bart Scott will join Chris Carlin and Maggie Gray as the team to replace Mike Francesa on WFAN, per the NY Daily News. 

The annoucement has yet to be made by WFAN itself, but it was first reported that Carlin and Scott were to take part of the team taking over for the legendary Francesa. 

Scott currently works with ESPN 98.7 while Carlin talks for WIP radio in Philadelphia. Gray works for SI Now and CBS Sports Radio. 

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets put together their most complete performance of the season in an impressive 34-21 win over the Bills on Thursday night, rushing for almost 200 yards and racking up seven sacks and three fumble recoveries in the process.

Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the offensive side of the ball:

Quarterbacks

With the running game working, Josh McCown didn't need to throw much this week, but he was efficient when he did. He threw just seven passes after halftime, completing five. In the first half, while the game was still in the balance, McCown gave the Jets the lead with a touchdown scramble, completing a drive he'd kept alive himself with another third-down run.

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Chad Hansen, Elijah McGuire, James Carpenter, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Wesley Johnson
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Cast your votes below for the Jets offense, defense, special teams and coaching during the first half of the season and see the results on Jets Nation: Mid Season Report on Thursday 11/16 at 6:30PM.

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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Jets (4-6) are now on their bye week. Their next game is against the Carolina Panthers on November 26th. Here's what's going on today...

Tags: Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Unlike the previous week, the Jets offense looked stale in their 15-10 loss to the Bucs on Sunday.

Consistency is what the players didn't see from the unit after the game. As the Jets tried to find a rhythm, something would halt them in their tracks. Josh McCown says it's on the veterans like him because they didn't pull the team together. 

"Myself and the other veterans have to pull these [young] guys along, help us find consistency and be better," McCown told Jets.com's Ethan Greenberg. "Because every unit, at some point this year, has played and shown that they can play with the best in the league. But we have to do that for four quarters week in and week out and we didn't do that today. We have to take these next two weeks to get healthy, look in the mirror and figure out ways to do that and be better, so we can make a run down the stretch."

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

The University of Tennessee has expressed interest in Jets DC Kacy Rodgers to become their next head coach, per Newsday's Calvin Watkins.

Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Sunday, leaving the school to hire a new coach following the season. No interviews have been scheduled as the talks are just beginning between both sides. 

Rodgers played for the Vols from 1988-1991 was he was a linebacker/defensive end. He was also born in Humboldt, Tennessee. 

The Vols do not need permission from the Jets to talk to Rodgers about the position. 

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After the win against Buffalo, there was a lot of hype about the "resurgent" Jets and some talk of Todd Bowles as a coach of the year candidate. However, after yesterday's dispiriting loss, the reality is that the Jets have lost four of five with their only win coming over a Bills team whose 37-point loss to the Saints yesterday suggests they have been overrated. Heading to the bye, it's probably time to reset our expectations.

Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the defensive side of the ball...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

After playing their best game of the season against the Bills last Thursday, the Jets looked lethargic in their 15-10 loss to the Bucs on Sunday. 

It didn't look like the same Jets energy that ran all over MetLife Stadium a week prior. Head coach Todd Bowles noticed a lack of spirit to start the game, and it would last until the final whistle. 

"You've got to show up every week in this league or you get it handed to you," Bowles told The Post's Brian Costello. "We didn't show up today."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Morris Claiborne, Robby Anderson
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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick got his first start on Sunday against his former team, and made the best of it with a victory. 

"It was special to me to be able to win that game," Fitpatrick told NJ.com's Connor Hughes.

Fitzpatrick led the Bucs to a 15-10 win as the Jets suffered their sixth loss of the season. It wasn't his best performance as he finished 17-for-34 for 187 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. But his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Charles Sims would be the deciding score, and the feat Fitzpatrick was hoping to achieve. 

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 11/12 00:11:49
The Jets Post Game crew hands out report cards following the Jets' 15-10 loss at the hands of the Buccaneers.

Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (16) reacts with a towel over his head during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (16) reacts with a towel over his head during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

What a waste of an opportunity.

That's the only way to describe that hideous, 15-10 loss the Jets had on Sunday to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets had showed so much promise in recent weeks. They were 10 days removed from their best win of the season. They were getting everyone excited as they sat on the edge of the AFC playoff picture.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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Bowles, McCown on 15-10 loss 00:02:04
Jets head coach Todd Bowles attributes the team's 15-10 loss to sloppy overall play, while QB Josh McCown credits Tampa Bay's game plan.

The Jets struggled on offense and former Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bucaneers to a 15-10 win on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.  >> Box score


 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Robby Anderson, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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Dr. Levine on treating soldiers 00:03:37
Dr. David Levine discusses his experience treating both professional athletes and soldiers. Demario Davis talks about their relationship.

Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) runs the ball as New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) comes in for the tackle during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)
Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) runs the ball as New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) comes in for the tackle during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson is active and CB Morris Claiborne is set to return on Sunday when the team faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a road matchup.

Claiborne returned to practice on Thursday after he was sidelined last week with a foot injury, while Wilkerson is set to go after resting during the week.

Tags: Matt Forte, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (4-5) at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

We'll be shivering up here in the Northeast all weekend, but not so much down in Tampa. Temperatures should be in the low 80s throughout the game under partly cloudy skies, moderate winds, and a tiny chance of showers at some point...

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacc's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:24
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

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Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs with the ball against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon (30) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs with the ball against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon (30) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets WR Robby Anderson is only in the midst of his second NFL season, but he already has lofty goals for what he hopes is a memorable NFL career.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 34-21. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 34-21. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (AP)

The Jets have activated WR JoJo Natson their practice squad as part of three moves before the team takes on the Bucs on the road on Sunday.

In addition to adding Natson, the Jets waived/injured DL Ed Stinson and signed CB Michael Hunter to the practice squad.

Natson is a 5'7" wide receiver who went undrafted out of Akron and originally signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts waived Natson in September and he later signed with the Jets. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Darron Lee 00:01:43
Jeane Coakley talks to Jets' linebacker Darron Lee about the team's focus coming off a big win and their preparation for Sunday's game.

Jermaine Kearse celebrates after picking up a first down against the Patriots.  (AP)
Jermaine Kearse celebrates after picking up a first down against the Patriots. (AP)

After watching the latest Thursday night game between the Seahawks and Cardinals, Jets WR Jermaine Kearse can't believe he survived his game the week before.

The Seahawks lost many players like Kam Chancellor, Sheldon Richardson, Frank Clark and Jarran Reed as they played on short rest. Kearse thinks that the NFL should get rid of Thursday night games in the future. 

"I can't speak on the majority of the players, but I can speak for myself, and I don't think it's helpful," Kearse told ESPN. 

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets OC John Morton wasn't angry at his running back, Matt Forte, after he openly criticized him following the team's Week 8 loss to the Falcons. 

Despite the horrific conditions, Morton called up only 21 run plays with Forte receiving only four of those carries. After the game, the veteran back publicly voiced that he didn't like Morton's game plan saying, "I don't really think we ran the ball enough with the weather being the way it was." 

In his first appearance with the media since the incident, Morton didn't scold Forte for voicing his opinion. Instead, he accepts his players' suggestion in his offense. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Matt Forte
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 (Jeff Hanisch)
(Jeff Hanisch)

The Jets have signed CB Michael Hunter to their practice squad, per NJ.com's Dan Duggan. 

Hunter began his NFL career with the Giants last season, playing in just two games where he amassed four tackles. He appeared in four games for the Giants this season without recording a stat. 

The 24-year-old was waived by the Giants on Oct. 17. 

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