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A Final Predraft Visit … from ESPN’s Sal Pal

Posted by Randy Lange on April 24, 2009 – 4:32 pm

The Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., is not only a grand new home for the Jets players and organization, but as a side benefit, it is also a magnet for NFL television megastars.

We had the full parade of league broadcasting teams come in here for production meetings during the season, of course, but already this off-season the Jets have gotten a number of visits, from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen to SNY’s Greg Buttle.

And today Sal Paolantonio is setting up shop in one of the glass-walled conference rooms on the AHTC’s second floor.

Sal Pal is one of the very best NFL TV reporters in the game, and he was gracious enough, in between recording spots and meeting with Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, to sit with Eric Allen and myself for one more bonus show in this jam-packed week of "Jets Two-Minute Drive." (

But he is, after all, a product of Queens and Long Island before he moved down to Philadelphia newspapering and back northeast to Bristol, Conn., and ESPN. "Those were my teams growing up," he confided to me as we walked down to the spacious Jets Radio studio. "Jets and Mets."

EA’s first question was about the new facility, and Sal didn’t have to go far back in his memory to compare it to the Jets’ previous home base. "This is spacious compared to Weeb Ewbank Hall back at Hofstra," he said.

My immediate thought was to ask Paolantonio about one of his most talked about early moments for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Less than two years into his gig, he had the remote draft duty from Hofstra in 1997, reporting live from "the Weeb’s" locker room before and after each Jets pick (while I and my fellow beatwriters were a few first downs away, sealed behind the green door in the old media room).

This, of course, was Bill Parcells’ first draft as the Jets’ football boss. Paolantonio remembered how the Jets traded the top pick of that draft twice to get down to No. 8 overall and take LB James Farrior. But when Parcells joined Sal Pal for that standup:

"All I could think about was Keyshawn Johnson’s book, ‘Just Give Me the Damn Ball!’ We were even standing right in front of Keyshawn’s locker. Bill always declined to talk about the book. We were on air and I asked him about it once and he said he didn’t want to talk about it. I asked him again and he was a little more forceful about not talking about it.

"I asked him one more time about it and he rightly was upset. I didn’t come back for day two."

Sal went on to report that he and Parcells have since reconciled and that the Tuna, now executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins, was a valued resource for him as he wrote his book, "How Football Explains America" by Triumph Books, now in its fifth printing.

It is an excellent, well-argued idea book on where the game came from and where it’s going, with many stops in between, such as alongside Joe Namath’s lounge in Miami before Super Bowl III and for Parcells’ short but telling stay at West Point on his way to the Giants, Jets and other teams.

As far as all the rumors about the Jets’ interest in trading for Arizona WR Anquan Boldin or in acquiring another quarterback, Sal shared his intriguing thoughts about those topics with us and will again during his several-day stay here in my neck of the woods. I’ll leave you to find his reporting on ESPN and his chat with EA and me on Jets Radio. His interview will be up on newyorkjets.com shortly.

Update, 10 p.m. — ESPN is reporting on its Bottom Line tonight that Tannenbaum told Sal Paolantonio that the Jets would like to trade up in the first round. There has been no statement about the Jets’ trade intentions from the team.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 30 Comments »


30 Responses to “A Final Predraft Visit … from ESPN’s Sal Pal”

  1. By Brian Sommer on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    I hear that Arizona wants a second rounder plus a player for Boldin. They prefer a runningback. I am hearing that they have spoken with the titans about a pick plus either Lendale White or Chris Henry. If that is the case lets trade them Thomas Jones straight up for Boldin and then Pick up Knowshon Moreno with the 17th pick. Jones has to be more appeling to them then White or Henry.

  2. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    Randy I do like Sal Pal really I do but he seems to be touting Sanchez on us & would be a big mistake for the jets at this time .. BTW if you have any influence on Mike -T-Rex or Mr Johnson please get into there ears & ask them to look at the Kid from Cal Poly Ramses Barden They won’t be sorry either will you again I will say 6-6 230 LBs fast with great hands willing to plow over the middle

  3. By Alan on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    Assuming The jets dont Trade up, and they draft at 17. Randy how long do you think it would take until they draft. I know you can’t give a straight up answer, but i just wanted to know how long you think it would take in “hours” until the Jets are on the clock at 17?

  4. By chris sandham on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    How bout this?
    The Jets trade their 2nd round pick and Thomas Jones for Anquan Boldin.
    Then the Jets can pick Knowshon Moreno or Beanie Wells at 17
    Then they can draft Tight end Jared Cook or Shawn Nelson or Cornilious Griffin in the 3rd or 4th round

  5. By Randy Lange on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    This is like an SAT question. If the Jets draft at No. 17 and if each of the teams ahead of them uses about 68 percent of the 10 minutes allotted to make their selection, and the draft starts at 4:10 p.m. ET … the Jets would be on the clock at 6 p.m.

  6. By Ira on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    I know about all the reports out there about Mr. T telling ESPN the Jets could trade up if there was a player they wanted that fell. To me that can only be Maclin. I can’t see them giving away 3 picks for Sanchez. I will stick with the trade down and take Pettigrew and a WR in rd #2. You can’t mortgage the future for a player that has played only 15 or 16 games in college.

  7. By 36 year fan on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    Here’s my Mock jets draft. #1 ; Crabtree #2 Beanie Wells#3 Pettigrue #4 Aaron Curry #5 Heywood Bey #6 Ayers #7 Orakpo #8 Maualga#9 Maybin #10 Tyson Jackson. This is specific to the jets needs. I think Wells could easily belong at #1 . Perfect one- two punch with Thomas Jones. Leon Washington is the perfect changeup to that whole running attack.

  8. By Russell on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    I hope the Jets do not trade up to get QB Sanchez. I want to see either Clemens or Ratliff man the Jets QB position this season. With the # 17 pick, I hope the Jets select WR Heyward-Bey. Randy, do you know anything about this young man named Nalbone from Monmouth? The Jets seem to like him at the TE position. Jets also need to draft a RB to groom when the Jets say goodbye to Thomas Jones.

  9. By michael on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    If they could somehow get sanchez without giving up too much, I guess they have too. But if that don’t work out I think they should stay at 17 and take the best available WR.

  10. By Randy Lange on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    Russell, I don’t know any more than you probably know. John Nalbone is listed at 6’4″, 255, with good speed and 101 career catches at Monmouth. And he learned a major lesson from WR Miles Austin, who also went to Monmouth: If you’ve got game, they will find you.

  11. By Jay on Apr 24, 2009 | Reply

    Chris- couldn’t agree more. Lose Jones and a second for Boldin. Pick up Moreno. Grab G Andy Levitre or TE Cameron Morrah in the 3rd. Our offense would be beastly at this point. Clemens will be a player this year, and I was pulling for Ratliff. Clemens, Moreno/Washington, Richardson, Boldin, Cotch, Clowney, Keller/Morrah. There’s playmakers and grinders in that bunch. Hope Sat. works out…

  12. By Michael Thomas on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    The Jets can fill two needs if they get Pettigrue.
    He can block and help the ground game and be used as a receiver.
    Keller and Pettigrue on the field at the same time would drive defenses crazy.

  13. By CCY on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Like the idea of a Jones/Boldin swap. Would prefer to swap Round 1’s (17/31) than give up a round 2—think D.Brown (UConn) will be there at 31. Prefer Carolina TE’s Hill (NCS), Quinn (UNC), Drew (EC) to Morrah . Thoughts?

  14. By irish jets fan on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    PLEASE PLEASE DONT TRADE UP FOR SANCHEZ………………….

  15. By MIIKE on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    If the Jets were to select Darius Heywerd-Bay this would be the worst draft choice in Jets history. Especially since we don’t know how VG will pan out. DHB is raw speed like a D McFadden but far worse. Players are either born to catch the ball or not. Jets want there version of Randy Moss well this is far from it. WR are deep in the draft you can get a good one in round 2. NO DHB and NO FREEMAN.

  16. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    I’m hyperventilating looking more & more like were moving up to take Sanchez ..I will say again we have to GIVE UP TO MUCH FOR UNDERCLASSMEN WITH NO NFL EXPERIENCE it’s not rocket science …Hoping it’s just a ruse to throw other teams in front of us off I know i’ve said all along I don’t like Clemens & much rather see Rhatty in there but K-C KNOWS THE SYSTEM why did we keep him here 4 years

  17. By Tim on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Our biggest whole is WR, which everybody knows. I only hope our GM realizes that. This team is a win now team not a rebuilding team. Find a way to get Boldin and at 17 pick the best available offensive player Harvin, Moreno, or Freeman. Forget Sanchez

  18. By carl on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Finish defense ! Speed is key at the linebacker poistion to make this defense go!

  19. By supercooljetfan on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    i think the 2 worst case scenairios would be giving up half our draft for sanchez or staying put and selecting pettigrew im sick of te’s in the 1st rd

  20. By david on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    We Should Just take Freeman!!!!!!!!!!

  21. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Jets management would have to explain to fans {{why}}we gave Chad Penny away for no Picks no big money ..let AFC team the fins no less get him because of Brett Favre & he would have been mad I understand all that ..Then we keep K-C lets not 4get C-Penny beat him out last 2 seasons ..If we mortgage this draft for unproven QB They need to explain ..Thats 1 reason why were always looking for a QB

  22. By IAMAYAHOO on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    we should draft a running back! i really like donald brown. he is a grinder a can carry a running game… i followed him all year long! if uconn had a better quarterback they would of been playing ing the BCS last year! donald brown should be there pick if he is there. moreno too! i’m sold on brown. we should not draft any qb and if we do i think freeman is a good and solid pick.

  23. By BobbyD on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    How about this. Pick up Moreno in the first. Jones to Cards for Bouldin. add a 3rd to Cards in next year selection. Trade up for TE Pett or DE

  24. By JETS 4 LIFE on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Sanchez Freeman or Boldin will be JET by the end of the DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Going to say this & know most won’t agree.. I much rather if we must move up get that kid Brain Orakpo .. I know Defence isn’t our choice at #17 but he would better serve this team then any underclassmen QB ..WE can get many very good players in the position of need on the team saying right were we are .. So please don’t Johnny Mitchel or Anthony Becht this draft up do it right RB or receiver

  26. By MIKE on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    The only player worth moving up to get would be Michael Crabtree. He is an immediate #1 reciever put him beside Cotchery and Keller and we have a very dangerous trio of recievers.

  27. By 36 year fan on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Sanchez is too slow. He’d get tore up in the AFC East.And Freeman forget about it!! No Way. Beanie, or Crabtree the only way to fly.

  28. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Sad part is I think W- Johnson with the economy the way it is feels the need to fill The PSL’s1st- especially with the talk if they don’t games may be blacked out I don’t think so but you never know.. Here is his predicament do we get a player who will help the team win or a player to fill the seats ..So far with the chatter out there it looks like the latter hope not we’ll see at 6pm or so

  29. By NYJFAN on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    good thought but who is going to throw the football

  30. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    Same old stupid jet draft tactics at least if your going to give away our 1st pick give up the 3Th not the 2Th .. So we can get TE RB OR RECEIVER unbelievable this has to be the most dysfunctionaly challenged team in the history of the NFL

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