Muhammad Wilkerson, arguably the best part of the Jets defense this past season, is more than a little optimistic about next season for various reasons, starting at the top. He endorsed Rex Ryan's return well before it was decided or announced.
"I'm pretty sure you heard the media [interviews] I was doing during the season, those last couple weeks. I'm definitely glad he's back. I wanted him back," the defensive lineman said Wednesday at the opening of Jets House, a Super Bowl-related hospitality center at Lugo Caffe, across 33rd Street from Madison Square Garden.
"I think it's good for the organization," he said. "Most of the coaches are coming back. All the players and coaches, we're all comfortable with each other. We know the system and I think next year will be something special."
"If we didn't have Rex back, then it would be a new coach, a new system. Everybody would have to learn different things, maybe different positions or something like that. So I think it's a good thing," Wilkerson said.
After a Pro Bowl snub that stung -- it had been one of his stated goals for 2013 -- the offseason has been filled with good news so far for Wilkerson. He was named second team All-Pro in an Associated Press poll. Also, he said, "I just found out, a couple weeks ago, I'm going to have a son."
Wilkerson added that he is not worried about whether the Jets will extend his contract. "That's why I have an agent," he said.
He was magnanimous enough to watch the Pro Bowl, as painful as that was.
"Obviously, I guess my play didn't cut it. I wasn't there. I'm a football fan, period. So I watched it for a while. I'm definitely happy for Cro and Nick for making it," he said, referring to Antonio Cromartie and Nick Mangold, who did travel to Hawaii for the NFL's all-star game.
Similarly, he will have enthusiasm for watching the Broncos and Seahawks play the Super Bowl in his home stadium.
"I went to Temple with Terrance Knighton, 'Pot Roast,' so hopefully Denver wins it," he said, mindful that Knighton and teammates are practicing this week in his Florham Park digs.
"He posted a picture on Instagram," Wilkerson said. "I told him I really don't want him in the locker room, but keep it neat."