Leon Washington still has a soft spot for the place he called home during the first four seasons of his NFL career.
"Yeah, I miss it a little bit because I’d be about to get off work right now if I was still there," Washington said today on a conference call with Giants reporters as the Seahawks prepare to meet the Giants in Seattle on Sunday. "Our day is just about starting underway.
"I miss those guys on the Jets and miss everything about New York. There’s a bunch of friends back there and so much support out there. I spent four years of my life there, so quite naturally, I miss it."
The dynamic running back/kick returner doesn't harbor any ill will toward the Jets, who shipped him to Seattle for a fifth-round pick during April's draft. Washington broke his right leg last October in Oakland, and even though he was on track for a full recovery, there was an unknown.
But Washington is faring well out in the Pacific Northwest. He had those two 100-plus yard kickoff returns against the Chargers, showing he's indeed back. But he claims he's not out to show the Jets they made a mistake.
"Not at all, I’m constantly trying to prove to myself," he said. "Right when I got injured and coming back on the practice field, a lot of things I was doing before took some time to get back to the old Leon and doing some of the things he did before. Every week, I go out and try to prove to myself that 'OK, can I do this move still or that move still or can I break away from guys like I used to?'
"Every week, I felt better and better in doing things and trying to prove to myself."
As for the contract situation and if he would've done anything differently in hindsight, Washington got a bit agitated.
"I thought we left that alone guys," Washington said. "I would do the same exact thing. The contract I had on the table was the contract, and people don’t know the details, but I’d do the same thing: go out there and play football. That’s what I do, so the same thing."
Washington still keeps in contact with several players, including QB Mark Sanchez, WR Brad Smith, WR Jerricho Cotchery, RT Damien Woody, TE Dustin Keller and S James Ihedigbo to name a few.
"A lot of those guys text me all the time and we pretty much text each other week to week," he said. "I tell them good luck on the game this Sunday and they’ll text me and say I did a good job. So we still talk a lot. When I come up to the New York area now and then, I hang out with some of those guys."
"Last time I talked to him was when I got traded," Washington said. "I know Rex and he’s a player’s coach and he’s a really good guy. He’s an honest, straightforward guy. I don’t really need to talk to him because I know what type of coach he is, and he loves his players and cares about them. It’s good to get compliments from that type of guy, because he has coached in the league for a long time and he has coached a lot of special players.
"I’m just thankful that it’s compliments."
But does he ever think about what could've been if he didn't get hurt and was still a member of the Jets?
"Man, I guess you could think could of/would of," he said. "I know those guys on that team, and they’re really good players and really talented. Like I said, they have a really good window of getting to the Super Bowl with so many good players on that team. That part, I think, could have, but secondly I have a great opportunity with the Seahawks.
"They wanted me, they traded for me even when I was hurt. I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity that I have over here and try to make the best of it."