Kris Jenkins has made it no secret that he'd prefer to sign with a team that plays its games on grass, all because he thinks artificial surfaces are no good for his surgically-repaired knees.
The massive veteran nose tackle is in the midst of a grueling rehab, attempting to come back from a torn ACL for the second straight season. He's spoken openly about the prospect of suiting up for another team, even though he also admitted the Jets offered him a one-year deal at reduced salary to bring him back after releasing the two-time All-Pro in February.
Bart Scott, one of Jenkins' closest friends during his Jets' tenure, doesn't want to see the 11-year veteran go anywhere and believes there's still a place for Jenkins on Rex Ryan's defense.
"Of course there’s a role," Scott told me. "I think if Kris Jenkins was in that lineup the last two years, I think we may be sitting here as back-to-back Super Bowl champions. He is a guy in that front seven that you have to account for. Bo [Sione Pouha] did a tremendous job, but he can't demand the same respect and the same attention that Kris Jenkins does.
"You have to account for him and you have to know where he is every time because he can literally take two men and beat them - not hold two men off the linebacker. He can beat two men and it’s just unfortunate that [getting injured] has been his reality the last two years. The key now is he may have to wear that brace and he may have to lighten the load."
Jenkins has checked in at as many as 400 pounds in recent years, but got down to 359 at the start of the 2010 season when he won a weight loss competition between himself, Ryan and Damien Woody. In some weird way, by missing the bulk of the last two seasons, the 31-year-old may actually boast more in his huge reserve tank than you would believe.
"Of course he has a lot left," Scott said. "It was never a question about his talents and what he can do on the football field. It’s just unfortunate that he’s had devastating injuries two years in a row. But hopefully those days are behind him. He can rehab and make those things stronger. I think he just needs to get a healthy year underneath his belt, and he'll be right back where people expeced him to be all along.
"Men that size, they are rare and they are really a commodity when you have one. Big men like those -- Grady Jackson, Gilbert Brown -- those guys can play forever. They are space guzzlers. But what makes him unique is he’s athletic with it. I tell people there's only four guys in the league that's built and has the same talents as Kris Jenkins, and that's [Shaun] Rodgers, Haloti Ngata and Albert Haynesworth.
"Everybody else is either a big space guzzler or a smaller, undersized slashing guy like a [Brodrick] Bunkley or a [Chris] Canty. Then you have the Casey Hamptons, the Vince Wilforks -- the big space eaters. But there are not too many guys that have the ability of those four guys. That’s what makes them so special."