Janoris Jenkins said it’s still “shocking” to think about what happened this offseason.
But he’s trying to compartmentalize it now that he’s at training camp with the Giants.
Jenkins’ older brother, William Jenkins, was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the death of Roosevelt Rene, a musician and friend of Janoris Jenkins, in Jenkins’ house in New Jersey last month. Janoris Jenkins was training in Florida at the time of the incident.
“I still have to come out and play football,” Jenkins said Sunday in his first public comments about the situation. “I put it aside. I understand I have to focus on my job.”
He admitted that can be difficult. “But at the end of the day, you have to be a pro,” the cornerback said. “Things are going to happen in life, some things you can’t control, and this is just one of those situations.”
Jenkins said he has not spoken with his brother since his arrest June 28, a day after Rene was found dead in the Fair Lawn house. “I will,” Jenkins said, “to see where his head is at.”
As for Rene, who went by the stage name Trypps Beatz, Jenkins called him a “good friend” in a social media post shortly after the incident. The two were working on a music project together. Jenkins said that project will continue at some point.
“But right now,” he said, “I’m focused on football.”
The Giants have not appeared too worried about Jenkins’ handling of either the situation or its aftermath. New Giants coach Pat Shurmur said he spoke with Jenkins early in camp.
“He’s doing great,” Shurmur said. “It’s tragic any time somebody dies, but I’ve spoken to Janoris and he was in Florida at the time.”
Team co-owner John Mara said he exchanged brief pleasantries with Jenkins when they saw each other upon a return to training camp, “but I have not had an in-depth conversation with him personally.”
On the field, it’s been hard to tell that anything other than covering receivers has been on Jenkins’ mind. He’s been one of the more active defensive backs through the first handful of practices, breaking up passes in drills and team reps and even intercepting Eli Manning in the first workout of the summer.
The Giants are counting on Jenkins to rebound from a discouraging season a year ago, when he dealt with injury, was suspended for a game for violating team rules and was not as productive as he had been the previous season.
When he reported to the offseason training program in the spring, Jenkins vowed that there would be no more distractions to the secondary or the defense. He had no way of knowing that before he returned to training camp, he himself would have to deal with one of the biggest potential distractions of his career.
So far, he seems able to handle it.
“My main focus has always been football,” Jenkins said. “Anything that happened I can’t control because I wasn’t there. I’m just coming back, getting back, getting with my team and excited to be here.”
Notes & quotes: Cornerback Donte Deayon had an interception for the second straight day Sunday but had to leave the workout early after injuring his left hamstring . . . The most productive running back in practice was rookie Robert Martin (Rutgers). He scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in full-team red-zone drills . . . The Giants placed rookie cornerback Sam Beal (shoulder) on injured reserve and re-signed cornerback Kenneth Durden, who had been waived in June to make room when Beal was selected in the supplemental draft.