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Vilma wanted to face the Jets

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 16: Jonathan Vilma #51

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 16: Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints smiles on the bench late in the second half against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Louisana Superdome on January 16, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Photo Credit: Getty/Chris Graythen

Jonathan Vilma said he was looking forward to playing his old team, the Jets, in Super Bowl XLIV.

"I was hoping, but not for bad reasons, though," he said of the potential matchup. "I watched their season and I still have a lot of friends there on the team. I was really hoping because two years removed from being with those guys, they deserved it. I felt like they were playing real good ball at the end, had a real good stretch really playing some good defense, especially. I was hoping they’d go. I would have been excited for them.”

Vilma of course was traded to the Saints after he never really found a groove in Eric Mangini's 3-4 defensive scheme. He's been much more productive in the Saints' defense. On Monday he was asked about the trade that sent him to New Orleans and demurred. Today, at Media Day, he opened up just a crack.

“I said when I was leaving that I had a real good time up there," Vilma said. "I really enjoyed playing up there in New York. I enjoyed the fans. I really enjoyed my teammates. I still keep in touch with my ex-teammates. So leaving, I just felt like it was part of the business. It was a situation where I didn’t fit the system, whatever anyone could speculate. It didn’t really bother me because I knew I was coming here, I was wanted down here and I was coming to a situation that was good.”

Vilma did mention that he and a current teammate share a similar career path. Jeremy Shockey and he won a national championship at Miami, came to New York (although for two different teams), and wound up in New Orleans.

“It’s funny, we had similar situations," Vilma said. "He got hurt, I got hurt, he got traded, I got traded ... and we’ve just been making the most of it since. It felt like we were a little slighted. I know that he had a lot more controversy coming from New York to New Orleans, but it’s been really good for us just to be able to relate. The situations were similar, and we’ve just been excited about being down here and winning games.”

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