Kris Jenkins doesn't want his career to end like that, not with him slowly trudging off the field under the lights on Monday night.
The massive nose tackle tore his left ACL for the second time in 11 months in the Jets' 10-9 loss to the Ravens in the Sept. 13 season opener, and had surgery two weeks ago to repair it. It was the third time the 10-year veteran has torn an ACL and many thought the 31-year-old would call it quits.
But he's readying for another stab at it.
"Honestly, I have to go through the rehab regardless," Jenkins said on ESPN's 'NFL Live' this afternoon. "I feel like I still want some more punishment … When you go out there, you understand you are going to beat yourself up just as much as dishing it out. And I still love this game. You have to deal with the worst of it and then move forward from there."
Rex Ryan, of course, couldn't be more pleased Jenkins wants to still play.
"That's great because there's only one way to do it and that's be completely committed," Ryan said. "You can't half?whatever it. You've got to be 100 percent committed, and if he is, he's got a chance to come back. But if he's not, if he wavers or whatever, that's going to be tough.
"But I love the fact that he's saying it right now because we all know Jenks. If he says it, he believes it. He'll go out and do it."
But can he be the same player again?
"Well, yeah, he's kind of a genetic freak, he really is," Ryan said. "We were expecting he was going to have a huge year for us. If he would have stayed healthy, he would have really had a big year. But I think this injury, coming off of this injury, you'd like to see him really get his weight off earlier, which that can only help him. But this guy is really a special player, and I'm hoping for his sake that he does it, because I don't think he's through playing. I really don't."
Ryan said he's yet to actually speak with Jenkins about his plans, which he made public last week.
"I think this was one of those 'Give him space [deals],' " Ryan said. "He's going to make that decision. Eventually I'm for anybody that isn't through playing. And the thing is, I know the way he approaches competition. And if he thinks that, 'Hey, I'm going to show you, I'm going to get back and be better than ever,' I'm not betting against him."