Eric Decker feels 'at home' with Jets
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Eric Decker just wanted to feel wanted.
And the Jets certainly went out of their way to make him feel special.
"The New York Jets have given me the most respect and welcomed me into the building," Decker said during a Friday conference call with reporters. "I have a lot of respect for the organization. . . . Also, the culture that they have there, what [general manager] John Idzik is doing and the coaching staff."
The wide receiver -- who reportedly signed a five-year, $36.25-million deal that included $15 million guaranteed -- also expressed his newfound appreciation for the Garden State.
"I think New Jersey's underrated," he said. "It's a beautiful place."
Decker -- who is married to country and pop singer Jessie James and expecting a child with her -- got a preview of the team's Florham Park facility when the Jets hosted the Broncos during Super Bowl week.
Decker, who said he received no "official offer" from the Broncos, said he "felt at home" when he made his free-agency visit to the Jets this week.
"The coaching staff, the players are first-class. And I think that's important," he said. "I want to be a part of a culture that wants to win and wants to do big things. And that was definitely attractive for me."
The receiver-needy Jets targeted Decker early in the free-agency process. But even though he's expected to be their No. 1 wideout in 2014, Decker downplayed the importance of labels. "Everyone has a big piece of success on a football team," he said. "It's not just one guy that's going to make a difference."
Interestingly enough, "one guy" was the main focus in Denver: Peyton Manning. And much of the debate over Decker's skill level stems from his two seasons playing with the star quarterback.
Decker, who turns 27 Saturday, conceded that he benefitted from having Manning as his signal-caller -- but only to a point.
"Of course he helped," he said of Manning. "He's a future Hall of Famer. But I'm also a good player."
And he's anxious to prove that with the Jets, a team he believes has "a lot of potential."
"I think this is an amazing city, an amazing organization," he said.
For now, though, Decker will have to use his skills of persuasion off the field to reclaim his beloved No. 87. That jersey number currently belongs to tight end Jeff Cumberland, who switched from No. 86 last offseason.
Decker said he's already reached out to his new teammate, adding: "We're going to negotiate what we're going to do with the number."