Writing and researching these tributes is probably one of the most enjoyable processes connected with writing for this site. However, when faced with the opportunity to honor some of the men responsible for the Jets' Superbowl win over 40 years ago, I do so with an added sense of pride and humility.

Two of the men largely responsible for the success of that team were defensive linemen John Elliott and Gerry Philbin. As with Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer, it seems fitting to induct these two together because of the way they played alongside one another for six years and remained close friends until Elliott sadly passed away last November.

While it was Joe Namath who garned most of the publicity of the time, their defense - anchored by its defensive line - was underrated. Elliott and Philbin, along with Verlon Biggs were referred to as "Great ones" by former defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Biggs - who was enough of a force that he too might one day be considered for the TJB Hall of Fame - played with Elliott and Philbin for four seasons and had played across from Philbin for two years prior to that.

Between them, Elliott and Philbin played 195 games for the Jets. Other than a year at the end of Philbin's career where he started six games for the Philadelphia Eagles, that comprised their entire AFL/NFL careers.

Let's begin with Philbin, who was a third round draft choice in both the NFL and AFL drafts, but - having attended college in Buffalo, where he was a four year starter - decided to remain closer to home and join the Jets. Winless in the first six games of the Joe Namath era, the Jets rebounded to win five of their last eight and then built on that with a .500 season which ended with a win over the Patriots to deny them a place in the AFL Championship Game.

Over those first few seasons, it was Biggs who had the stronger reputation, being named an AFL All-Star in 1966 and 1967. Although he was named a first-team All-Pro by the NY Daily News and a second teamer by the UPI in 1967, Philbin didn't earn his first All-Star selection until 1968, as his 19 sacks led the AFL and propelled the Jets into the postseason, where they would ultimately win the Superbowl. He was an All-Star again in 1969, as well as being a first team All-Pro for the second straight year.

Philbin was regarded as a fearsome pass rusher, who over the course of his nine-year Jets career, recorded 64.5 sacks. To put that into perspective, Shaun Ellis didn't overtake that number until his tenth season, despite playing in an era where they play two more games per season. Philbin would eventually be named to the AFL All-Time Team.

Despite his reputation as a pass rusher, the role he played in the Jets' Superbowl win was more of a run stopper. Although only credited with two tackles, Philbin held his ground well, even though the Colts kept running right at him. He did make one big play as a pass rusher, pressuring Earl Morrall into a third-down incompletion in the red zone after the Colts' first drive, which ended with a missed field goal.

Although Philbin was no longer considered a Pro Bowler in the seventies, he still possessed playmaking ability, as evidenced by his performance against the Colts in 1972. Philbin had 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a huge tackle for a loss and multiple pressures as he displayed spin moves, relentlessness and great instincts.

Former Jets defensive co-ordinator Buddy Ryan was full of praise for Philbin:

"Gerry was a great one," Buddy said. "He and the Chiefs' Jerry Mays were the two defensive ends on the 10-year American Football League all-time team. The only other Jets on it were Joe Namath and Don Maynard. Gerry should be in the Hall of Fame, but I guess everybody can't be in it."


In fact, if it wasn't for Philbin, Buddy Ryan might never have been hired by the Jets.

"I like to think I had a part in getting Buddy into pro football," Philbin recalled. "We hired him when I was going into my fifth year with the Jets. Weeb Ewbank brought me in and asked me about bringing in this guy from College of the Pacific. He was my old coach from Buffalo. I had nothing but the best to say about Buddy. I said he'd be a great coach in pro football."


Though Buddy's hiring paid immediate dividends for the Jets, it has a wider-reaching impact, which is felt today. Rex and Rob Ryan, Buddy's six-year old sons, who Philbin first saw in their crib when he had dinner at Buddy's house while at Buffalo, would show up to practice and practice tackling each other, much to Weeb Ewbank's amusement. Rex would spend a lot of time hanging around the linemen, with Philbin and Winston Hill apparently being his "favorite" players. Although he didn't know it at the time, these memories had a profound effect upon where he most wanted to coach in the NFL, so perhaps without Philbin, there would have been no Rex Ryan in the Jets' future.

After his career ended, Philbin went through some tough times, almost drowning in 1983 and then, later that year, appearing in court as one of two principal partners of a Sand and Gravel firm in a manslaughter case. However, he rebounded and by 1990 was president of a recycling firm in Long Island. He is often seen at Jets nostalgia events, ceremonies and reunions.

It's no coincidence that Philbin's most productive years coincided with when Elliott was on the team. A gentle man, known to family and friends as "Big John", Elliott displayed outstanding quickness and determination and needed to be accounted for on every play otherwise he was a threat to blow it up.

Elliott was drafted in the seventh round out of Texas and it didn't take long for him to make an impact. He went to the AFL All-Star Game in his second season, as the Jets won the Superbowl, then returned there in the following season. After the Jets joined the NFL in 1970, he was an All-Pro for the third straight year and became the first Jet to play in the Pro Bowl, along with Tackle Winston Hill.

Elliott had 48 sacks in seven seasons as a Jet, including 15 in 1970 as he led the team and was named as the team's MVP. To emphasize how long ago that was, Elliott was rewarded with a $24,000 salary. In 2011, Darrelle Revis will effectively earn $26,042 per MINUTE.

Despite his pass rushing prowess, in the Superbowl win, he too pitched in more in terms of stopping the run, recording four tackles, underscoring the fact that although Philbin and Elliott were playmakers, they were prepared to do things like set the edge or engage blockers if that's what was required of them to win.

He later revealed that the Jets hadn't planned to win the game and, since no parties had been organized, he was back in bed by midnight. The next morning, as the last to leave the hotel, a staff member gave him the trophy, which had almost been left behind. He took it back and presented it to the team, admitting that this was the only time he got his hands on the trophy.

In watching old footage of Elliott, it is clear that - despite his "Big John" moniker - he was undersized as a tackle. However, he overcame this and made himself a force by having an inate ability to read the play and using his terrific quickness to get off blocks and shoot gaps. In a 1970 game against Cleveland, Philbin was out, which meant Elliott had to deal with constant double teams. However, he still was able to get penetration and made it through to the quarterback several times due to his quickness, which was also on display when he pursued a runner out to the sideline or dropped into coverage in the flat.

Elliott is yet another example of a Jets player that is underappreciated by the mass media, but his teammates appreciated his abilities:

"He doesn't get the notoriety he deserves," said Pete Lammons, a teammate to Elliott at UT and with the Jets who lives in Houston. "For a period of time he was as good a defensive tackle as there was in the game, either in the AFL or NFL. We all thought very highly of him."


Sadly, Elliott died of cancer in Houston last November. This article from the official Jets website contains some personal tributes from friends, teammates and family members in the comments section, which underscore what a great person he was.

However, it's together that we choose to recognize these two outstanding players as TJB Hall of Famers. Congratulations to both men.
Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets' first round pick, S Jamal Adams, has already impressed his new teammates, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes. 

The Jets were exuberant when Adams fell to their No. 6 slot in the 2017 NFL Draft as he was the player the wanted most. Participating at OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Adams has shown his teammates, like CB Morris Claiborne, why the front office was so high on him.

"The things he has done so far?" Claiborne said. "He's unbelievable...He's been out here playing lights out. Picking up the defense, checking to different things, knowing what he wants to check to. He's having fun doing it, too. His spirit is awesome. He's having fun doing what he knows how to do, and that's football." 

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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Demario Davis
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.

The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching. 

"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic." 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson

Projected backups: Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jets' owner Woody Johnson as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the team confirmed on Thursday.

In the case that Johnson is nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, he would hand over his duties as Chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, who will directly oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson says head coach Todd Bowles has been more strict than in the past, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. 

Bowles has been left with a young team following the Jets' roster purge that including veterans like C Nick Mangold and LB David Harris. With his job possibly in jeopardy, he has been putting emphasis on working harder.

"It's completely different from the last couple years," Richardson said at minicamp. "A lot more strict now. We weren't loose [in the past], but it's a lot more strict now. It's even more enforced than what it has been in the past."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning in Manhattan for his alleged role in a nightclub attack that took place on April 2, according to TMZ Sports.

Mauldin, who is also being sued in civil court, was not arrested or charged after the incident. The Jets said earlier this month that they're aware of the lawsuit but had no further comment.

An NFL spokesman told ESPN's Rich Cimini that the league is looking into the incident. 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Former Jets LB David Harris has agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots worth $6.75 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Patriots offered Harris more than the Jets offered him earlier this month prior to his release, reports Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Harris visited with the Patriots on Wednesday after speaking with head coach Bill Belichick (and coaches from five other teams) earlier this week, notes Florio.

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Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)
Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)

The Jets were one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL last year, finishing the season wtih just 27 sacks, and only 5.5 of them coming from the team's outside linebackers.

Todd Bowles brought in former NFL linebacker Kevin Greene as New York's new linebackers coach, and Greene has already expressed optimism towards his young group of players.

"The sky's the limit for all my kids," Greene told Daniel Popper of the Daily News. "I'm teaching my kids technique and fundamentals not based on athletic ability and skill. It's based on physicality. It's based on drive and desire and want-to and being a student of the game. ... All my kids can really be as good they want to be."

Tags: Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins
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 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

The Jets have signed former Bears WR Marquess Wilson, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Wilson only played in three games last season as he was on the IR with a broken foot. He is a big target, standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, and will add some competition before training camp begins.

In four seasons with the Bears, Wilson played in 31 games, hauling in 56 receptions for 777 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets new running backs coach, Stump Mitchell, believes RB Bilal Powell has Pro Bowl ability, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Mitchell has been impressed with Powell since joining the Jets this season, and he thinks if he didn't have to share time with another back, he has would attain Pro Bowl status. 

"Bilal is a Pro Bowl back if he was playing by himself, make no doubt about that," Mitchell said at minicamp.

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starters: Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin

Projected Backups: Dylan Donahue, Josh Martin

Tags: Deion Barnes, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Mike Catapano, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets minicamp 00:02:24
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and Defensive Lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Sheldon Richardson
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Former Jets LB Larry Grantham dies at age 78: Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets' only Super Bowl team in 1969, died on Tuesday at the age of 78. Apart from being a Super Bowl Champion, Grantham has been enshrined in the Jets Ring of Honor as well. 

Elsewhere in New York sports the Mets dropped a slugfest to the Dodgers, the Yankees lose their top prospect to injury, and the NBA draft is just two days away. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

The Jets' roster purge and commitment to begin rebuilding this season earned them a "C+" offseason grade, per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

As the offseason is normally used to rebuild rosters, the Jets tore theirs down thanks to move made by owner Woody Johnson. Among the roster cuts were LB David Harris and WR Eric Decker, which saved the Jets almost $14 million in payroll alone. C Nick Mangold and CB Darrelle Revis were also part of the 11 veterans the Jets go rid of this offseason. 

Cimini said the grade should be worse considering the Jets now have one of the worst rosters in the NFL, but looking at the big picture, the Jets are acknowledging their rebuild and will have $80 million to work with next offseason.

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starter: Matt Forte

Projected Backups: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte
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GEICO SportsNite: Larry Grantham 00:00:26
Michelle Yu reports on the passing of former Jets linebacker Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets Ring of Honor, who was 78 years old.

The Jets announced former LB Larry Grantham, a Ring of Honor member and Super Bowl III champion, has died at age 78.

Grantham opted to join the AFL's New York Titans despite being drafted in the NFL by the Baltimore Colts in 1960. The Titans became the Jets in 1963, and Grantham would stay with them until his retirement in 1972. 

He was the starting linebacker for the Jets' Super Bowl III championship team where he called all the plays on defense. Grantham played in 175 career games, and was a five-time AFL All-Star and a five-time all-NFL selection. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets receivers 00:01:37
Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa to discuss his expectations for himself and the young receivers for the upcoming season.

SNY's Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa after the conclusion of Jets minicamp to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.  (Bill Wippert/AP)
Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. (Bill Wippert/AP)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is now a Tennessee Titan after agreeing to a deal on Sunday. 

Elsewhere, Jacob deGrom homers, the Yankees drop their sixth straight, Bradley Wright-Phillips scores twice and the Rangers, Islanders and Devils announce their protected players list ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft. 

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Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker agreed to a contract with the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Sunday.

Decker, 30, played 33 games with the Jets over the past three seasons, totaling 163 catches, 2,183 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Decker had appeared healthy entering organized team activities in May after he missed 13 games last season due to rotator cuff and hip injuries.

New York released him last Monday when they were unable to find a trading partner. The Jets will face a $1.5 million cap hit this year and next after releasing Decker.

Tags: Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

RB Matt Forte says the Jets aren't tanking the season, despite the fact that they've cut the majority of their veteran players this offseason.

"It's a good thing we don't operate off of what the fans think and what everybody on the outside thinks," Forte said, according to The Record. "What we think as a team, that's what's going to happen. And none of us on the team think that we're going to tank. So all I have to say about that is: Bring it."

The Jets, who went 5-11 last season, have cut Brandon MarshallEric DeckerDavid HarrisDarrelle RevisNick MangoldNick Folk, and Breno Giacomini since the season ended. They also declined their option on Ryan Clady.

Tags: Matt Forte
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 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's really quite an accomplishment for the Jets to come off a disappointing and perhaps disastrous 5-11 season and find a way to get worse. But they did it. They purged their roster of most of their veterans and replaced them with untested, unknown players. They're playing the long game, even though their short term looks rather bleak.

Who knows if they're "tanking" with their eyes on a top draft pick next season? Maybe they're just acknowledging the need to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. Whatever it is, there isn't a lot of hope for the 2017 season. Their eyes are on 2018, or perhaps beyond.

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Rookie Marcus Maye on minicamp 00:01:51
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

The Jets selected Maye in the second round of Apri's NFL Draft.

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Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets coach Todd Bowles said Thursday there is no frontrunner for the srarting quarterback job. 

Elsewhere, the Yankees lose in extra innings, Juan Lagares is injurede in a Mets loss and the Giants ink their first-round pick. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:10
Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.

Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.


 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wants to stay with the team for the rest of his caeer, but is not open to giving a hometown discount. 

The Jets, who finished 5-11 last season, are entering a rebuilding phase. But Richardson wants to be a part of it.

"A lot of guys just want to go jump on a bandwagon," Richardson told Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News earlier this week. "Older guys. Later in their career, it's easy to go jump into a good situation. It's a free market, so by all means, do your thing. But me personally, I like to make history, not be a part of it."

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles insinuated the team's starting QB is job still up for grabs, noting Thursday that there is currently no frontrunner.

The Jets, who are expected to turn to Josh McCown as their starter, have also been giving reps to Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.

McCown, 37, signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this offseason.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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