In the end, Bilal Powell wanted to be with the team that drafted him.
"I really didn't want to leave, man," he told Newsday by phone Tuesday afternoon.
The running back confirmed that he has agreed to re-sign with the Jets, though he declined to address the terms of his contract, which reportedly is for one year. "As far as having a chance to stay and playing in the city that I came into, it was something that my family and I decided on," the team's fourth-round pick in 2011 said.
In a limited role as the No. 3 back behind Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson, the 5-11, 204-pound Powell rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in 15 games last season. He also caught 11 passes for 92 yards. In four seasons, he's totaled 1,296 rushing yards (3.9 average) and six touchdowns, plus 65 catches for 511 yards.
With former Jets coach Rex Ryan and running backs coach Anthony Lynn now on the Bills' staff, Buffalo made a strong push for Powell, a source said. But he always viewed the Jets as home. "I think any guy that has the opportunity to test the waters will. It's always best to have options," said Powell, a married father of two children. "This is the best opportunity. I think this is the best fit for me."
Powell, 26, often gets overlooked, but re-signing him was a top priority for the new Jets regime. When coach Todd Bowles was hired, Powell was one of the first players to get an introductory call. "I'm very impressed with him," Powell said of Bowles. "Just him reaching out to me a couple of times in the offseason just shows who he is as a person."
The Jets likely aren't done adding to their running back stable, though. They'll either sign a free agent (one name to watch is Roy Helu) or wait until the draft.