Woody Johnson was beaming, almost speaking like a father who finally got a chance to see his long-lost children.
The Jets' owner couldn't wait to lay his eyes on the likes of Mark Sanchez & Co. for the first time since the lockout was instituted in March. So what exactly was he planning this morning?
"A big party," Johnson said just outside the gates of their Florham Park, N.J. training facility. "Yeah, we want to see them. We can’t wait to see them and get back into what we have to do. Get back and get them ready for camp next week. I’m so happy this thing is over. I think it’s going to be good for both sides. It’s a long-term agreement, so ...."
Speaking of long-term agreements, the Jets hope they can reach one with free agent wideout Santonio Holmes. Asked about the chances of re-signing Holmes, widely viewed as the top wide receiver on the market ahead of teammate Braylon Edwards and the Vikings' Sidney Rice, Johnson didn't offer any insight.
"We're not going to go into specifics about that," he said. "But we're hopeful. We're going to make the team better, that's for sure."
Dustin Keller, who benefitted from having two talented receivers on the outside, would love nothing more than to see the free-agent duo in green and white again.
"So badly," the tight end said. "One way or another, hopefully we get all the guys back. But if not, we’ve just got to move on."
Johnson said of Holmes and Edwards: "We love them both, and we are going to have good receivers, I can promise you that. Obviously, we want our guys back if we can get them."
But even he admitted the NFL is headed for a wild period, given the flurry of transactions that are expected over the coming days.
"It’s going to be very chaotic. That’s for sure," Johnson said. "Chaotic may be the wrong word. I think it’s going to be very active. There's scenarios beyond scenarios. Everything from the free agents, to the undrafted free agents and so on, which they were working late last night getting and I think we got some good players about that. It’s going to be a condensed period of time where we get all this done."
"We’ve gone over the same thing," he added. "You go over the same lists and you go over the same scenarios again, and again, and again, and make sure all the emails, and phone numbers, and addresses are correct, and we know where everybody is to the extent that we were allowed to. But it’s frustrating."
That's why the players are relieved they can finally get down to work.
"Very much so," Keller said. I mean, we missed the offseason workouts but we pretty much are going back to work at our normal time."
And Johnson couldn't be more thrilled, even though it's going to take a while to mesh everything back together.
"It’s going to be football," he said. "We are going to get these guys ready to play New York Jets football and that’s our job locally. But nationally also, our job is to get all our guys ready and put on an NFL show."