Laveranues Coles knows he's at the tail end of his career. And he plans to end it this season with the Jets, the very organization that drafted him and brought him in last week for a third tour of duty.
"There ain't no, 'Want to retire as a Jet.' This is it," Coles said after the Jets first training camp practice this morning. "This is the last hurrah. The boat stops here, trust me.
"I would'nt have it no other way. I think if I walked away from somewhere else, I think I was going to sign a one-day deal here anyway just to retire as a Jet. It was going to end this way anyway regardless. Whether they wanted me back here or they didn't, I still was coming back. They didn't have a choice. It was one of those things where I was walking back through these doors whether they wanted me or not."
Coles is back in a comfort zone with the Jets. The 32-year-old said it doesn't feel weird being back with the team where he spent the bulk of his previous six seasons.
"I feel like I belong here more than everybody else to be honest," he said. "This is home for me. This is where it all started. It's a lot of new faces, but it's a lot of guys I played against or seen up and down the road, they've seen me and played against me. I came in and it wasn't an awkward feeling. Everybody is happy, glad to see me back.
"I understand the situation that I'm in, so it's good for me. It's fun. That's the main thing. I wanted to make sure it was fun when I did it. Of course, now I'm just trying to get back in shape and get an understanding of the offense because after being in Cincinnati's offense, it can screw up everything mentally as far as coming back here. But as far as just being ready to play football, I've got a long ways to go."
He also has a ways to go before he feels comfortable wearing a different number in green and white other than the No. 87 that currently belongs to fellow wide receiver David Clowney.
"I feel a little nasty wearing 85," Coles said. "I think I'm going to rectify that. I'm going to go inside here and fine me another number. But outside of that, I think everything is really cool."
Wait, so you really are going to change numbers?
"I think I'm going to try 19 this afternoon and see how that looks. I flip back and forth trying to get something comfortable. It's a mental thing at wide receiver. You've got to feel good about yourself before you do good things."
Again, so you really will get another number?
"It's not really will, I am," Coles said with that trademark voice of his. "Yeah, I'm going to try 19 this afternoon. More than likely. The guys were picking at me with this on. They said I didn't look right, so I think need to change it up a little bit."
But whatever number he does wear, Coles understands it probably won't be for long. When Santonio Holmes returns from a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, he'll likely be shown the door.
"I’m a realist," Coles said. "I look at things the way it is. Of course, they have a great core without me. The circumstances call for them to bring somebody else in like myself, a veteran guy, to try and help out while he’s gone. Coach Rex [Ryan] was straightforward and honest with me and said that it’s something we’ll deal with and approach when the time comes at four weeks when Santonio comes back.
"Of course it’s always a probability of him saying, 'You’re being released.' There’s a probability of, 'Your role is being reduced.' There’s a probability of a number of things. Just being straight forward and understanding the situation, it was great for me. Whenever somebody comes forward and tells you straight up that this is the situation, this is what it is, you can’t help but go with it."
Ryan said he was his usual honest self.
"With L.C., there's no guarantee that he makes it," Ryan said. "He may go in and have an unbelievable season where it's impossible to keep him off the field. But I'm also realistic enough to that Holmes comes back in Week 5, Santonio Holmes is here. He is a tremendous player. So that's what it is. It's just an opportunity for us."