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Rookie Ellis learning on the fly

Hampton's Kenrick Ellis during the regular season.

Hampton's Kenrick Ellis during the regular season. Photo Credit: AP

Kenrick Ellis was in limbo like all the rookies during the lockout, forced to play the waiting game.

"The lockout, it was crazy, you know?" the defensive tackle said after practice at The Hangar. "I felt like it really put me at a disadvantage because I wanted to get in, get the playbooks, just try to see what type of environment it is up here. But everything happens for a reason.

"I’m happy it’s resolved and now it’s back to work."

But not having a rookie minicamp, the usual organized team activities and even a traditional minicamp made things all the more difficult when the massive 6-4, 346-pound got a gander at the Jets' playbook for the first time.

"Aw man, it's crazy. I was kind of confused," he said. "Some things are similar from college, but it’s just terminology, just getting used to terminology, different type of plays. That's it, but it’s all football."

Just not college football.

"The speed of the game, it’s a lot faster than college, a little bit more physical," said Ellis, who began his career at South Carolina before transferring to Hampton University after some off-the-field issues. "But that comes with the territory, and we’ve just got to keep working and try to get better."

Ellis might've been drafted higher than the third round if it wasn't for his legal woes. He's facing a felony malicious wounding charge stemming from an incident on Hampton's campus, and has a Nov. 28 court date.

Being he's not a permanent resident of the United States, if he's convicted of a felony, he faces possible deportation.

"That’s a legal issue. It is what it is," Ellis said. "I just want to play football. It’s a legal issue. I can’t really speak on it right now."

But Ellis said his legal woes aren't a distraction once he goes in between the sidelines.

"When I’m on the field, I think about doing my job, that’s the only thing I can think about, just doing my job," said Ellis, who twice mentioned he's just trying to make the team. "Whatever my job is, just do it. Everything else doesn't matter because if I don't do my job, I’m not going to be on the field."

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