Kenrick Ellis is soaking in as much as he can, for as long as he can.
After a lockout-shortened offseason last year, the Jets defensive lineman will miss 45 days of this offseason, starting June 15.
Though he refused to talk about his jail sentence – which stems from a 2010 incident during college – Ellis said he’s happy just to be a part of his first OTA sessions of his career.
“It feels great, just to be here practicing during OTAs,” he said. “There was a lockout last year so the rookies didn’t really have a chance to go through OTA so it feels good and I feel like it’s going to help us out tremendously as a team.”
He said he’s not frustrated at the fact that he has to miss significant offseason training time in back-to-back seasons, but he wouldn’t elaborate further.
“I just want to focus on football, nothing else,” he said. “I’m here right now and I’m just going to try to get better and keep working with coach (Karl) Dunbar, who’s a great D-line coach, and the veteran guys as a team.
“To be honest, I don’t even want to talk about anything other than football. I don’t want to talk about any kind of jail or any kind of legal anything. I just want to focus on football right now and get my technique together and try to get better to help the team.”
Ellis said he’s been impressed with the new crop of rookies this season, especially fellow defensive lineman Quinton Coples.
“He has great technique,” he said of the first-round pick. “He’s a great athlete, he’s a great addition to the New York Jets. I think he’s going to be a great player.”
Ellis, who played for Division I-AA Hampton, said the speed of the NFL was the toughest adjustment for him.
“Everybody’s big, everybody’s just as strong as you, so it’s all about technique,” said the 24-year-old. “You have to have great technique to win or compete in the NFL and that was a big different for me in the NFL.”
Though he’s not a veteran by any means, Ellis said he’s sharing his experiences with the rookies, in hopes that it will ease help ease their transitions.
“The crazy thing about being a rookie is, you really don’t know that you don’t know yet,” Ellis said. “So until you catch on, you just have to keep working hard, and I tell them get in their playbooks.”