Bradley McDougald was having dinner with his family when Seahawks general manager John Schneider called to tell him he had been traded to the Jets. The veteran safety didn’t hear much else after that. McDougald's mind then started racing and he quickly went from feeling unwanted to feeling wanted.
“He continued to speak for like two more minutes and all I heard was ‘Jets . . . Jets . . . Jets,’ ” McDougald said on a Zoom call Friday. “I’m like, ‘Wait, you, said I got traded to the Jets.' At first, I felt abandoned and they just kicked me out and they didn’t care about me or valued me there. Then I started thinking about how much of a blessing this was and another opportunity that actually was a better space for me to be in.
“I was coming into a program that wanted me to be there. They did their homework on me and they traded for me. So I had to start thinking about all the positives. I had no time to feel sorry for myself or focus on anything negative other than coming into a new program and earning my respect from players and coaches and go out there and be the best me.”
The 29-year-old McDougald, who was acquired in the trade that sent Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams to Seattle, is going from a perennial playoff team and potential Super Bowl contender to one that hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2010 season. But McDougald hopes to change that, and bring a friend with him to help the Jets’ cause.
McDougald created a stir on Twitter last week when he said free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would be willing to play for the Jets. McDougald said Clowney called him after he was traded and he told the pass rusher he should join him with the Jets. McDougald said Friday that he would lobby the Jets to sign his former Seattle teammate, but he doesn’t know “how much of a voice I have” with his new team.
“He wants to be in a camp somewhere. He wants to play,” McDougald said. “He’s a ballplayer, a hell of a ballplayer. I’m like 'Man, I’m over here now you might as well come.’ We laughed about it. At this point in his career, he does want money. But he wants to play as well. If a team comes with the right offer and they approach him the right way it could be very possible that he could be a Jet.”
McDougald is looking forward to playing for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. He described his first conversation with Williams as “intense” and is excited to play for someone who “forms his defense around his players.”
A starter in 70 of his last 79 games with Tampa and Seattle, McDougald believes he will fit in well because of his versatility and attitude.
“Honestly, there’s no defense that I haven’t been in and found success,” McDougald said.
McDougald had five interceptions and four forced fumbles the past two seasons in Seattle. He believes he can make an impact and he’s not worried about trying to fill Adams’ shoes.
“This isn’t me being here to replace Jamal. This is me here as a fresh start,” McDougald said. “It’s not like I came in there and was like, I’m about to take Jamal’s job. I got traded. I’m coming here to be the best me. I can’t be Jamal. I’m not the same person as Jamal. The only thing I can do is come in and be the best Bradley McDougald and hopefully that wins my coaches, my players and the fans over. That’s who I intend on being while I’m here.”
McLendon mum on Woody
Veteran nose tackle Steve McLendon sidestepped a question about the alleged racist and sexist remarks by owner Woody Johnson. “I'm not going to speak on him or any of the comments that he said or made, and I don't pass judgment on anybody,” McLendon said. “At the end of the day, he will be held accountable for his actions. I’m not even going to speak on that. Whatever he said, he said. It's out there. I have a great deal of respect for Christopher, Mr. Johnson. I'm going to let them handle that in any sort of fashion they want to handle that."