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A Toast to Kobel’s Bid for the 53-Man Roster

Posted by Randy Lange on June 16, 2009 – 11:36 am

I visited with LB Craig Kobel, one of the most recent FA signings by the Jets, in the locker room last week. His demeanor was calm but his words were effervescent regarding his chance to sign with another NFL team.

"It feels incredible," Kobel said. "You kind of take a pro career for granted till it gets taken from you. I’m about as happy as you can possibly be."

The reason for his joy: Kobel was once a top player at South Florida who held the school’s career tackles-for-loss mark for four seasons. He played for the Arena League’s Utah Blaze in 2006 and was sent by the Eagles to NFL Europa in ’07. But he developed a sports hernia that cost him two surgeries and the past two seasons.

"It happened just over time, kind of wear and tear," he said. "I’ve worked relentlessly to get back."

Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen scouted Kobel when he was Philadelphia’s pro personnel director, which led to Kobel being brought to this year’s rookie minicamp as a tryout. He wasn’t signed then but was added to the roster last week.

There are no guarantees for Kobel, but he has a track record as a penetrating defensive player who has position versatility — DE at USF, Mike LB with the Eagles, Sam LB in NFL Europa, perhaps rush LB here.

"Everything has worked out for the good," Kobel told the Tampa Tribune. "I’m ready for Round 2."

Philbin Remembers Buddy

The great thing about talking with the stars of yesteryear is hearing the great stories, some of which we’ve heard, some not. Such was the case with 1968 AFL All-Star DE Gerry Philbin, whom I profiled after he was invited by Rex Ryan to visit last week’s minicamp.

Here are two more Buddy Ryan stories from Gerry that I didn’t get into in that story:

Buddy, as Weeb Ewbank’s D-line and special teams coach, instituted a system of "black boxes" with which he rewarded players for things like sacks and big teams plays. Philbin remembered that commissioner Pete Rozelle didn’t like the "bounty" aspect of a few hundred dollars in each box and banned the practice. But that’s not how Philbin recalled the context.

"If you got to the quarterback, or whoever had the best game, you’d get one of the black boxes," he said. "And I was on the kickoff team. If you want down and made tackles or forced a fumble, you’d get a black box.

"In those days, after taxes we were taking home $500 a week. So a black box with $100 or $200 in it was a lot of money."

Buddy also brought in a guest coach during camp one year, who just happened to be Art Donovan, the celebrated DT for Ewbank’s Colts who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968.

"When I was a kid, Artie was a hero of mine," Philbin said. "Weeb and Buddy brought him in to help coach the defensive line. He was so funny. He’d work us hard, then we’d have meetings after dinner at night. He’d bring a case of beer in and we’d drink a beer and watch the film with Artie Donovan."

Those were the days, my friend …

What Moves These Jets WRs

Kudos to Brad Smith, who wrapped up the What Moves U Challenge presented by the 3-A-Day of Dairy campaign with his visit to Ridgedale Middle School in Florham Park, N.J., last Friday.

Smith exercised with students, doing such activities as basketball passing, football catching and rope-jumping. Then there was interaction time with the Jets wide receiver discussing ways for the students to exercise 60 minutes every day.

The What Moves U Challenge/Play 60 is a national youth movement developed by the NFL and the American Heart Association to inspire middle school students to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity of each day.

Fellow Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery is also busy during his "football camp season." He’s hosting his camp at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend, for which registration is already closed. Then in July he’ll be back in North Jersey for his third annual camp in Wayne, and that registration has yet to begin. But J-Co will have details soon on his Website, www.cotcheryfoundation.com.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 15 Comments »


15 Responses to “A Toast to Kobel’s Bid for the 53-Man Roster”

  1. By DM Lark on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    I was freshman at Brooklyn Tech when Jets won SB III. While most focus was on Namath, mine was on the Jets D with #81 Philbin and #86 BIggs at the Ends and #80 John Elliiot at DT. People forgert how good they were and how much they meant to the SB run.

  2. By Ira on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    Nice job by Smith and J-Co. Funny story about Philbin and the money. Now it cost more to attend the games. Wow have times changed.

  3. By Ira on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    DM Lark,
    I played hoops for SBHS and when we played Bklyn Tech they broke into the classroom that we used as a locker room and stole our clothes. Myself and some of my teamates had to go home on the D train in our uniforms and the game was in Dec. BTW no warmup pants in those days. I agree with you about that SB team and their D.

  4. By jak_jetfan on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    Art Donovan. is a funny man. his tv appearances always make me laugh. i hear he was a good player as well.

  5. By russ on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    Thank you Randy …for an old man like myself it is refreshing to hear good stories about men who loved football get a chance to speak…

  6. By carl on Jun 16, 2009 | Reply

    I love hearin these stories about Donovan and Philbin,but do you realize that was 40yrrs. ago! Jets need to kick some Patriot butt now! Yeah I know Miami won the division, total fluke last year! Defense wins Championships. Go Jets!

  7. By FIsh Hunters on Jun 17, 2009 | Reply

    Great article Randy. Way to dig for our “History!” Speaking of defense, we have GOT to have a green T-rex mascot patrolling the sidelines this year. Probably with a green and white cape with either Jets or D on it. Every time the D makes a big play the PA has to blast a T-Rex sound effects roar. How cool. Lets get this going!

  8. By Ira on Jun 17, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, You have to love Rex. That was quite the story about his problem and i give him a lot of credit for coming out with it. Good for him. The Jets are in good hands with Rex and i can’t wait until the season starts and he get the Jets on the right track. GO JETS!!!!!

  9. By Tom Spicer on Jun 18, 2009 | Reply

    There is something you must know from the start: The Ryan boys will bring it. They always have. If you wanted to run the football, they stuffed you. If you wanted to throw it, they hit your quarterback until he gargled blood. If you tried to fight them in a bar, they put you on your back. The Ryans are football coaches, and by god they are going to bring it like you’re trying to deny them their

  10. By Tom Spicer on Jun 18, 2009 | Reply

    livelihood. Because that’s what they feel has happened to them, more than once. A Ryan boy gets up every day meaning to prove he belongs at the top.

  11. By MrJetGreen on Jun 21, 2009 | Reply

    Enjoy your time with the Jets Craig Kobel, we know it will be short, LOL.

  12. By Randy Lange on Jun 21, 2009 | Reply

    You’re a real supportive guy, MrJetGreen.

  13. By 36 year fan on Jun 22, 2009 | Reply

    Nice story randy. Good luck Craig. Yours is the perfect underdog story, when you make it back. I’m sure you will. Reminds me of a walk on tryout out of Hoffstra. Wayne Chrebet.

  14. By 36 year fan on Jun 22, 2009 | Reply

    Smart move on defense to add this guy. He has the potential to be a game changing type of back. I cant wait to see this defense tear New England apart, like a pack of savage lions taking down a baby wildabeast.

  15. By MrJetGreen on Jun 22, 2009 | Reply

    Randy, My father alway’s said “a champion will alway’s find a way”. If Kobel comes through then he is a champion. I wish him much luck but with the players we have……….Kobel is on a short schedule…………………………………. Prove me wrong Mr Kobel!

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