FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Thomas Jones never got the chance to celebrate.
But there's no time for that right now. Not after an awful loss to the Bills last week. Not with the remainder of the season left to save. There's just too much work left for the Jets to do, and too little time to revel in personal achievements.
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"When you lose the game, the feeling that you have is frustration in not winning - that takes over any type of feeling of accomplishment," said Jones, who set the Jets' single-game rushing record with 210 yards - on 22 carries - last week in a 16-13 overtime loss to Buffalo. "I want to win, first of all. I will do everything I can in the game to help us win."
With his team on a three-game losing streak, Jones may have to shoulder an even heavier load Sunday against Oakland, whose confidence is soaring after a shocking win over the Eagles last week.
And he's fine with that.
The 5-10, 212-pound running back defies conventional wisdom. To Jones, age is a state of mind. And the 31-year-old doesn't feel a day over 21.
"Whoever came up with that rule obviously didn't play running back in this league, didn't prepare like I prepare, didn't watch film like I watch film, didn't take care of his body like I take care of my body," said Jones, who was a Pro Bowl selection after rushing for an AFC-best 1,312 yards last year.
"I feel like a rookie. I don't feel like I've been in the league for 10 years. It's a mental thing . . . I can play another four or five years if I want to."
Said coach Rex Ryan, "It almost looks like he's upside down. The size of those arms, they should be the legs. He really takes care of himself."
Jones credits his experience and preparation for his success. "If anything, I've gotten better," said the veteran, who is fifth in the NFL with 481 rushing yards.
While other athletes seek out the spotlight, eager to supply sound bites for the nearest microphone or tape recorder, Jones prefers to let his style of play do his talking.
Said Jones: "I don't dislike the media or doing interviews or talking. I have no problems doing that. I'm just a very focused person. I believe in my routine; it's worked for me . . . I'm watching film, doing what I need to do to prepare. That's the way I can be my best on Sunday.''
Notes & quotes: Wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith have been ruled out for the second straight week. CB Lito Sheppard (quadriceps) also will not play Sunday. CB Donald Strickland (ankle) and T Damien Woody (knee, foot) are questionable but are expected to play.