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Big Jenks returns

Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins takes a break

Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins takes a break during a minicamp at the team's practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. (June 15, 2010) Credit: Joe Epstein

Kris Jenkins is all the way back. Well, sorta.

The massive, yet more slender, defensive tackle was taken off the active/PUP list today and practiced for the first time since training camp commenced Monday. Jenkins, who's coming off that left ACL surgery and was nursing a hamstring injury, did a little bit of work in minicamp, though not much.

So today was another one of those milestones for the The Cookie Monster.

"I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything," Jenkins said, "but I've always had a overinflated confidence in myself. I just felt confident that I was going to be able to bounce back because I've been through the surgery before with the right knee and I handled that well. I knew that I'm not at Mark Brunell's age yet and my body can recover fairly quickly.

"So, that's something that's been good. I knew what I had to do, stuck to the plan. Now that I'm 31, it takes a little bit longer. But it's not that much from when I did my right one." 

Jenkins did individual work and also participated in just the running drills during the team portions because he didn't want to do the quick sprinting and twisting that would be necessary in team passing drills. Putting too much of a strain on his knee wouldn't be a good thing, especially because he knows he has to also knock of that rust. 

"I have some things to work on," Jenkins said. "I have to work on getting my pads lower, I have to work on just getting my balance back and everything like that. But I've got Nick Mangold, I've got Matt Slauson, I've got Brandon Moore. I've got a lot of guys that are over there playing hard and they are going to get me back.

"I know they are going to challenge me and I know definitely with the guys on the D-Line, we always push each other and I have all the support that I need."

Rex Ryan said the plan is to be smart with guys like Jenkins and not push them too much. The idea, obviously, is to have him around for the grueling six-month stretch the Jets are embarking on.

"You can be in shape, you can have all that stuff," Ryan said, "but let's face it:: he hasn't had the pads on now for a long time. And he went out there getting the double teams, he split a couple of teams. He got high one time on Mangold on a reach. But it was fun just to watch him play. He's moving great. He looks terrific, and again, his weight's down. But it was like, 'Wow.' I thought he'd be a little more tentative and it's just the opposite.

"It was just like he was riding a bike and it's great to see."  

Jenkins, though, doesn't want to be babied too much and he had visions of practicing again later today, when the Jets hit the field for their 4:20 p.m. session. On the other hand, he also knows he has to play it safe.

"I'm going to go out," he said. "It's going to be a situation that I'm going to be smart with it and everything. But I'm going to go out and do as much work as I can and just keep building on it. You have to understand that this training camp is a marathon, not a sprint. I'm not trying to be at full go tomorrow.

"I'm trying to be at full go for Baltimore. So that's the thing. Whatever I have to do to be smart to get to that, then that's what I'm going to do. It's just a little bit a time, we'll be smart. We'll work it out."

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