As the tributes to fellow inductees Joe Klecko and Don Maynard show, one of the essential functions of the TJB Hall of Fame and the primary reason for creating this exercise is to go some small way towards righting history's wrongs. Though many feel he is deserving, Winston Hill has always been overlooked for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there can be no argument that he doesn't deserve recognition as a TJB Hall of Famer.

Considering Hill retired from professional football while I was just a baby, the challenge now is to do his contribution to the New York Jets franchise justice to ensure that Hill is not once again overshadowed by the rest of the 2009 class. In order to do that, we must rely on the testimonies of others.

RB Matt Snell, who ran for 121 yards and a touchdown behind Hill's blocking in Superbowl III:

"So graceful, so beautiful to watch. Took them just where he wanted them to go. Never seemed like he was exerting himself that much. Tell me, did you ever seen [him] sweat?"


Former Packers GM Ron Wolf:
"That's my man, bingo!" You talk about a guy whose name you never hear now, that's him. I'd love to see the Seniors Committee propose him [for the Pro Football Hall of Fame]."


Former Jets Head Coach, Weeb Ewbank:

"I've been telling reporters for a long time that Winston Hill is a great offensive tackle and [in the Superbowl] he proved it. I mean when he blocks, he doesn't just get a stalemate with the guy he's on. He blows him out."
Hill's achievements speak for themselves: He played 14 seasons with the Jets and at one stage recorded the tenth longest streak of consecutive starts in NFL history (174). He went to 4 AFL all-star games and was a 4-time NFL Pro Bowler. Most importantly of all, he won a Superbowl ring and played a huge role in the big game...

This section is best enjoyed if imagined with an authoritative baritone voice over stirring orchestral music...

The Colts, labelled as the Greatest Team in Pro Football History and an overwhelming 18-point favorite were highly motivated and their defense, anchored by defensive end Bubba Smith planned to go into attack mode from the outset. The Jets, however, had other ideas.

Ewbank's gameplan was to run away from Smith and at the right side of the Colts line, where defensive end Ordell Braase was matched up with Hill, the Jets left tackle. Five years earlier, Hill had been an eleventh round draft pick of the Colts and had been cut after having been tormented by Braase in practice. However, Hill's performance was dominant enough to have exploded Bill Simmons' vengeance scale, had it existed at that time.

With Namath confusing the Colts by mixing run and pass perfectly with multiple audibles at the line, the Jets enjoyed their greatest success with a play called "19-Straight", where Snell would take the handoff and start up the middle, but then would bounce to the outside, as Hill rode his man off the line and sealed the edge. 19-Straight got Snell into the endzone for the go-ahead score in the first half, culminating a drive which began with that same play four straight times.

"Braase pretty much faded out," said Snell, although Hill would not take all of the credit for Snell's success. "Snell is a great runner. He doesn't ask for much room. The mediocre backs come back to the huddle and cry if they didn't get a hole big enough to back a truck through. I knew we could do it. We ran against the best teams in our league. What's so special about the Colts?"

That quote underlines the confidence with which the Jets approached the biggest game (still) in franchise history. Namath had famously guaranteed victory, the players did not watch any film in the last three days prior to the game because they were so confident and it was important for them to represent the AFL with pride. “That year the Raiders had a good team, Kansas City had a good team and San Diego had a good team. And the three of them probably could have beaten Baltimore,” Hill would later say. The message was clear and undeniable - the AFL was a league to be reckoned with.

Despite this, the fact that Hill played the first half of his career in the AFL and not the NFL, hurts him in terms of Hall of Fame recognition. An 8-time Pro Bowler with a Superbowl ring is not necessarily a lock for the Hall of Fame - Harry Carson - a 10-time Pro Bowler - only recently made it after years of campaigning, for example. However, Hill is regarded by many of those old enough to have seen him play as one of the best players of his generation.

It may have hurt Hill that the Jets did not have more postseason success. There were other AFL linemen to have made the Hall of Fame - Jim Otto, Ron Mix and Billy Shaw - but his achievements fall just short of these players, although they all enjoyed most of their success in the AFL, whereas Hill, who played the second half of his career in the NFL, spans two eras, making him difficult to compare with anyone else. However, it seems fair to say that Hill has been overlooked, not just as a potential hall of famer, but also in terms of even being mentioned as one, as the debate tends to center around more recent players.

When Hill first joined the Jets in 1963, he apparently earned the name "Holding Hill", but went to the AFL all-star game in his second season and then, after two years of being overlooked, was recognized in seven straight seasons (three as an AFL all-star and four as an NFL Pro Bowler). He was not honored in his final three seasons as a Jet, although the coaching staff apparently felt that 1974 was the best season of his career. He finished his career with a year at the Rams, but played in just three games.

Responsible for protecting Namath's blindside, he was regarded by some as the first great pass-protecting left tackle, using his size and strength well (he played most of his career at 285, very big for a tackle at that time, although he did play a few seasons at 270). This would give Namath and his notoriously quick release sufficient time to get rid of the ball. However, even his work in this area was sometimes overshadowed by his teammates. NFL Films called center John Schmitt "perhaps the key man - and most adept man - at protecting Namath," whereas ESPN awarded Guard Dave Herman, who played RT in the Superbowl as the real MVP of that game because he neutralized Bubba Smith, holding him to one sack.

As a run blocker, Hill was again influential, as shown by his display in the Superbowl. However, his reputation was as more of a pass protector until the latter stages of his career, moving to right tackle in 1971 and improving his run blocking to a high level of efficiency over the last three seasons. Ultimately, although he may not have been the best pass protector or the best run blocker on those talent-laden offensive lines, most experts agree that Hill was the most complete and most dominating offensive lineman in Jets history.

Off the field, Hill, who still gets involved in Jets fundraising events, was clearly an interesting and witty character, as the internet has many examples of amusing quotes from him.

After the Miami Dolphins voted him "most likely to hold" in 1975 - a sure badge of honor, somewhat reminiscent of Kobe or Lebron complaining about someone playing physical defense against them, because they couldn't cope with it - Hill said "I never held an honest man in my life." At the end of his career, when he went into the food business and started marketing "Winston's Low-Cal Yoghurt", he said ''I don't need this extra weight anymore. Starting Sept. 1, I'm going to go on a diet to lose 40 or 50 pounds. By November, I can use 'before and after' pictures of me for ads.'' When he hurt his foot in 1970, the notoriously tough Hill was quoted as saying "I'm looking for a name this long, Doc. (Moving his hands apart) It's not so impressive to have a sprained toe." Finally, perhaps his most famous quote was this:

"Of all the names I could have had that would have inspired fear. Rocky. Bruiser. My parents had to name me Winston ... Winnie to everyone. I mean could you see a defensive lineman terrified because he had to go up against a Winnie?"


Before writing this article, I made a point of checking out Winston Hill in action (in the 1972 game where Namath famously out-duelled Unitas, throwing for 496 yards and 6 TDs on FIFTEEN completions...you don't do that without good pass protection!)

Sure enough, Hill was as smooth and stylish as they say and stood out because of his size (big for an OT even then. He would usually stay comfortably in front of his man to help form a perfect pocket around Namath, despite the loss of Schmitt to an early injury. With the running game not working, the Jets practically abandoned it, which meant the Colts could send multiple pass rushers, but on the couple of occasions when Hill was beaten, he was able to recover and use his strength to knock the pass rusher off balance enough to enable Namath to get rid of the ball. Finally, on a crucial second half drive, the Jets did return to the running game and Riggins picked up 44 yards on six carries, with Hill consistently driving his man off the line. It may be a small sample size, but it was enough to make a believer out of me.

Other than this and the Superbowl itself, I never saw Hill play, but I was convinced. If there's any justice, hopefully the Canton's Hall of Fame selection committee will be too, one day. For now, a place in our humble Hall will have to do. Winston Hill, ladies and gentlemen...

If you're prepared to admit to being old enough, please share your memories of him in the comments.
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." 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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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.

Tags: David Harris
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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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