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Here’s Hoping TJ Is a KC Masterpiece

Posted by Randy Lange on March 10, 2010 – 2:55 pm

It’s time to officially say goodbye to Thomas Jones.

We were prepared to do that, of course, when the free agency signing period began and Jones, who had a year to go on the contract he restructured when he came to the Jets in trade in 2007, was released. Then Tuesday night the reports filtered in that TJ had found a new team in the Kansas City Chiefs.

But we at like to wait for the NFL and its teams to make things official, and that happened this morning when Chiefs head coach Todd Haley (who coincidentally is a former Jets assistant coach and son of highly respected former Jets personnel man Dick Haley) confirmed the signing.

Jones, Haley told the Kansas City Star, "is a good football player and a strong leader, a real professional. He’s been part of turnarounds at a couple of different places, in Chicago and New York, where he kind of got teams to the promised land, so to speak. He’s a strong character and he loves football, so he fits the bill of what we’re looking for here."

As for bringing Jones into a Chiefs backfield that last season featured Jamaal Charles in a team-MVP season, Haley said, "It’s just a chance to add another good football player to the mix in addition to the ones we have."

The Jets knew all these things. We all know he had a career-high 1,402 rushing yards last season, along with 14 more rushing TDs and that franchise-record, personal-best 210-yard Game 6 against the Bills.

Here’s something else you may not have known about TJ’s ’09: He had six 1-yard scoring runs for the Jets, tying the franchise record held by two others. Can you name them? (Answer below.)

And for his three-year Jets career, the regular-season numbers are impressive: 3,833 rushing yards, 4,315 yards from scrimmage, 31 total TDs.

Through it all, he was, as Haley noted, a team leader, as evidenced from his fiery pregame peptalks to the way he sometimes carried the team on his shoulders to things behind the scenes that only the players know about.

He even brought up the group when the spotlight was on his individual work after he had reached his first Pro Bowl in February 2009. When I talked with him during the week before the all-star game, he seemed as happy and at peace as I saw him publicly as a Jet, and yet he still wanted to dwell on the players around him.

"It goes to my offensive line and my fullback doing a good job blocking for me all year. My linemen get all the yards and touchdowns that I have gotten. Once you get into your ninth year in the league, you go out there and you’re really playing to win. Your goal is to win the Super Bowl," he said. "By me going out there and playing to win, good things have happened.

"It’s a blessing and I am grateful for it.”

All that being said, Jones is no longer a Jet. The decision to let him go was a gutwrenching one for Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan. Difficult judgments about age, economy — the NFL economy and perhaps even the region’s and the nation’s economy — and the best interests of the team had to be made.

But Rex and Mike T have made it clear they will miss TJ’s toughness, dedication and leadership. The players will say the same, and we will add our best wishes to Jones now that he’s exchanged his green for some new red threads.

Recognized for Their Work

This is a good week for the Jets organization in the awards arena. SportsBusiness Journal/Daily announced this week its "Forty Under 40 Class of 2010," and one of those 40 bright young sports business stars is our own Thad Sheely, Jets executive vice president of stadium development and finance.

Thad and his class will be recognized at the Forty Under 40 awards banquet March 18 at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles.

And already up on our site is a news release on the Jets’ nominations in five different categories for the New York Emmy Awards. Different programming — specials, commercial spots and promos — that aired on three different networks is in the running for an Emmy or five when the awards are presented April 18 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. For these honors, a special tip of the hat to Bobby Parente and Rich Gentile.

And the Answer Is …

The other Jets who had six 1-yard touchdown runs in one season were Johnny Hector — who did it twice, in 1986 and ’88 — and Brad Baxter, who scored his sixpack in ’91.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Randy Lange | 45 Comments »

45 Responses to “Here’s Hoping TJ Is a KC Masterpiece”

  1. By Ira on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, I was going to say Baxter and Boozer. Congrats to all above mentioned by Randy. And of course to TJ only the best and would love to play the Chiefs @home in the playoffs. GO JETS!!!!! Heard Jackson signed with the Eagles.

  2. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Great piece, Randy, and I wish TJ well and thank him for what he did for us. Only part I don’t get is winning the Super Bowl in Kansas City any time in the next decade or so…

  3. By uncle joe on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    My two favorite memories of TJ,Him giving the game ball to Rex and saying some nice things about how the team loves him and calling out Brett Farve after the season when no one else would.He’s a stand up player and he was good for us,but not for 5 million a year.

  4. By scjoe on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    We will have to wait and see what kind of numbers TJ puts up this year. I am a believer that he can and will be replaced. But with that being said, let’s remember this is an “uncapped year” so cap money should not have been first priority, the fact that it was in this case speaks volumes. If the Jets DO move up in the draft, I am hoping for either Spiller, Brandon Graham, Dunlap, or Dan Williams. I think all should fall between 15-20, so it won’t take a ransom. Spiller being the one to offer….

  5. By scjoe on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    cont.. the most immediate help. Sergio Kindle would also be a nice option. I hate to beat a dead horse about the WR issue, but for those who strongly believe we need to address that position with a high pick, I ask you this. How do you think a WR corp of Edwards, Cotchery, Keller, Clowney, and even Allison would work out for Peyton Manning or Brees or Brady? Not to bad ha? Then why not for us? Remember, we are talking about WRs, not QBs.

  6. By Robert from H.P. on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Cutting Thomas Jones will come back to haunt us this coming year. Not only was he a leader in the lockerroom and on the field – but SHON GREENE HAS NOT PROVEN HE CAN WITHSTAND THE GRIND OF A FULL SEASON!! To quote an X-coach ” YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME…..not to cut your costs!!!

  7. By Vincent on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Good luck TJ. But I reckon the only chance you would have had for a SB ring before retirement was with the Jets if you could have negotiated a slightly less $$$ contract. Good luck all the same.

  8. By Fred on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Great post Randy on TJ he will be missed & is truly one of the type of players you can root for, I am glad we do not play KC in the regular season. Having said that I doubt very much TJ will come close to 330 carries this year & historically few players have more productive seasons after they have left the Jets- John Riggins, James Farrior, Terrance Mathis & maybe Jeff Blake come to my mind as exceptions.

  9. By John on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Well Mr T I think it time to go and start signing some F/A we already lost one RB look like we can lose another sometime soon. I would like to see the Jets go out and sign RB, Le’Ron McCain he young and he a big back. I was hoping the jets would had taked a look at WR, Antonio Bryant he had sign with Cincinnati. I hope Jets can find a WR, from F/A but NOT Laveranues Coles don’t want him back. A back up QB I was thinkinh Derek Anderson but after was had said about the fans in Cincinnati I’ll

  10. By the real t.o. on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    i was hoping that TJ would come back for at least one more year. he and greene wouldve been an amazing tag team. good luck TJ. the chiefs are really lucky to have such an amazing player thats truly a professional that lets his play on the field do the talking. ill always root for you…THE BIGGEST GUNS IN THE NFL!!!!! seriouslt TJ must curl 300 lbs

  11. By ryan d on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    why? thats all i have to say…uncapped year…why not give him one last year in green and white? dont be suprised if he has a 1700 yard season

  12. By 37 year fan on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Larry Johnson is still out there ,.. waiting for us to grab him .

  13. By PurpleFlash on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, if TJ is everything you said in this article, (and he is) then why in the world did the Jets let him go… This make s no sense. 5.8 mil is not all that much considering what we are paying others (ex Braylon Rdwards 5.77 MIl.

  14. By rasheed on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    jones was a good back for us but he was get up in the age thats why we let him go and na green is our back he’s something like jones but more power

  15. By Ira on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, Just watched the Super Season on the site. Boy it brought tears to my eyes and plenty of memories. I was an AFL fan from day one and wish they never merged. Those AFL games were always so great and exciting. Much better the NFL. You know what no matter how sweet it would be to win another SB or two or more in the future it will never be better than that first one the Jets won. Everybody take the time to watch it is a great video. GO JETS!!!!!

  16. By Don A on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Dont get me wrong I love jones great player and great character, but I think this is the right move in the direction the jets are going. More of a dynamic back field is what they are hunting for to stretch the threat from sideline to sideline as well as vertically. My two cents is Richardson should be next., if not this year then definately next. He is a great blocking back but thats it. Thats one out of 11 on offense that the defense can easily prepare for. He is only one dimensional.

  17. By Row on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    All I can say is I surely hope we don’t sign a free agen RB, because the best one got signed to KC on Monday. I hope TJ runs for 2k and another 17 TD”s. Thomas Jones is NOT replaceable. I’m ready for TO. Someone get on the bandwagon. I think we should immediately sign him for 2 years which would show him that we are dedicated to our success and to him as a part of it. If Arian Foster is a FA, we could pick him up for next to nothing. I would like to see him in green and white. Go Jets..

  18. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Actually, uncle joe, TJ “calling out” Favre is one of my least favorite memories of him. Favre’s had ten times TJ’s career, won a Super Bowl, and instantly improved both the Jets and the Vikes (and withstood really cheap shots by NO in a title game, I might add). The other person to “call out” Favre after the ’08 season? A guy named Rhodes, also gone now — coincidence? Robert, SG’s proven a lot and he’s not going to be our only RB, bet you we pick up at least 2 by way of the draft and trades.

  19. By tnjetsfan6 on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Jones will regret going to KC. They have NO offensive line and he will have a hard time cracking 800 yards with the Chiefs. He will get banged up and will be out of the league after 2010. Too bad Jonesy – you should have stayed put. Money isn’t everything – as you will find out trying to gain yards behind that pitiful O-Line.

  20. By Randy Lange on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for the favorable review, Ira. We’re hoping it’s New York Emmy-worthy.

  21. By tonyz on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    We are going to miss him I hope they didnt make a mistake letting him go with Greene kinda injury prone and Washington is a question mark with his injury I trust Rex ……GO GANG GREEN JETS ALL THE WAY

  22. By Frank on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    The biggest issue with losing TJ is the leadership vaccum this now causes. Clearly the team is trying to cut costs and yet again jetting valuable role players that really define the success of the team. This is especially true with special teams losing our best ST players over the last 12 months and possibly continuing with possibly losing Feely & Dearth. This team has a very small margin for error making ST’s the most important element of the team Tanwoody is creating a potential 2010 nightmare

  23. By Vincent on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    To all you guys saying TJ is irreplaceable – get a grip. I bet you if bring in LT behind our OLine he’ll easily run for 1500yds too. Heck! With that OL Shonn Greene (who is very good, so don’t get me wrong) ran like he was a 3 yr veteran. TJ was good but definitely not irreplaceble in skill or locker-room leadership, something which Sanchez should now start doing.

  24. By Troy on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    With Sharper saying he would love to come here and play ,I think he would fit our D nicely ,he’s still a ball hawk even at 34, hell he scored like 4 tds this past year and unlike rhodes is not afraid of coming up and popping someone, I say go get him for next year.

  25. By Anthony on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    I hear Tomlinson is coming to visit on Friday? Is it true Randy? I would sign him to help our boy Greene out a bit. LT still has a little bit of juice left and I think with our O-line he can have huge seasons just like T. Jones had. But if not there is always the draft but I think we need a Pass Rusher bad. I am hoping Adalius Thomas gets cut so we can grab him. ANy word on Marques Douglas coming back?

  26. By Ira on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, It should be a lock to win an Emmy. Row LT has a visit with the Jets according to reports and i have a strong feeling he will sign with the Jets. It could be his best option.

  27. By NYJFAN on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Say no to TO. He’s a great player and still has a few good years left but he would be a huge distraction under the microscopic scrutiny of the NY media circus. I’m all for drafting a decent WR. Doesn’t seem like many good quality vs. price WRs in free agency right now.

  28. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Let me get this straight, Row: You want TO, you wanted to hold onto TJ at his absurd price, you wanted to keep KR, and you’re always dumping on MS, SG, DK, and now AC. So, what, you don’t know about the draft? Young players? Vertical and horizontal speed? tnjetsfan6 has it exactly right, TJ will be lucky to see 800 yds with KC because he’ll be lucky to get 200 carries. By the end of ’10 he’ll be strictly a back-up to Charles, who smokes him. Meanwhile we get Best or some other great young RBs.

  29. By Frankie on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    LT a jet!!! can happen…. that would be nice!!

  30. By Frank on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Tomlinson coming for a visit?…..forget him go get Brandon Marshall we need a major playmaker on offense.

  31. By uncle joe on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    LT visiting Friday

  32. By ddh on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    JUST SAY NO TO ‘TO’,clearly he doesn’t fit the offensive scheme, go for youth MS needs receivers to grow with him. # 1 concern should be pass rusher, we need solid pressure on QBs whether we are blitzing or not, to make our secondary even more effective. # 2 RB even if LW comes back in full form and SG, we still need a big bruiser for short gains and pass protection.

  33. By Mike Jet vet on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    2 posts in particular I can agree that T-J is about money not team 1st when he called out a player like B-Favre he didn’t have the respect even when he played hurt & never even complained once got us to 8-3 at that point & will be in the HOF T-J never will BTY proves with no uncertainty T-J KR THERE IS NO I IN TEAM .second lets see if he even comes close to improving KC in his 1st 11 games if he does I will salt & eat my words T-J won’t hit 600 yards without Fanny Moore Brick Gold & wood

  34. By BriGuyinFL on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    My $0.02, sign sharper to a 2 year deal with some of that money we saved. Draft defensive line/linebackers and O-line. Take a low draft DB and WR to develop. I think that we will pick up a F/A running back to help out this year. Plenty still on the market.

  35. By Tom Spicer on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    I got this off of a site I look at “Free agent FS Darren Sharper believes he would be a good fit with the Jets. Sharper says he has the “utmost respect” for coach Rex Ryan and loves his aggressive scheme. Sharper added that “there’s something about the big lights and the big city that fits me.”

  36. By Tom Spicer on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    L.T. is coming for a visit on Friday.

  37. By Mr. Green on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    A perfect compliment for SG would be Jamal Lewis for 1 year. He is a big bruising back and is very good in short yardage like TJ was. He also has some history with Rex. LT is just like Leon. Both would be very good if used like Wes Welker. I would let Leon walk only if he is out of our division. Don’t want to see him 2X a year. As far as the draft goes, I’ll wait until it happens. Everyone has an opinion but Mr.T will make the final decision.

  38. By Andrew H. on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    wow sad to see TJ go he was one of the greatest off the field jets in the last 5 years. Seeing TJ go is gut-wretching and i hope he can have another dominant season with the chiefs. TJ like Chad will be so hard to root against. TJ was such a professional and was a team leader the jets are gonna miss him and hes a great player. Thanks TJ

  39. By Ico on Mar 12, 2010 | Reply

    LT is not Lawrence Taylor, but he can catch the ball. We need a work horse in the backfield that can catch the occasional pass. I think we need to sign a WR; Keller is very good but he is a TE.
    The coaches need to work on S Greene’s hand strength so he doesn’t get the ball stripped as much this season.
    TJ good luck in KC.

  40. By Adam Carter on Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

    Sort of with T. Jones would’ve stayed.

  41. By Joe on Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

    Sorry, but I’m not at all sad to see TJ leave. By the third game, I found myself yelling at the TV to take TJ out and put in SG. TJ was a “run two yards and dive” kind of player. SG is a “run through you” kind of player. Wasn’t hard to have TJ’s numbers with the number of carries behind that O-line he had.

  42. By JEFF on Mar 14, 2010 | Reply

    Thought it was a classy move on the Jet’s part taking out a full page ad in the KC Star thanking T.J. for three great seasons as a person who embodies toughness, dedication and leadership. As a Chiefs fan that makes me appreciate even more the signing if his old team feels that strongly about him.

  43. By AZ Jet Fan on Mar 14, 2010 | Reply

    OK, now I”m a little ticked off. I just read that the Jets could have matched TJ’s offer in KC of 3 mil. That is almost half of what he was due to be paid by the Jets this year. Why not pay him that and be done with it. We’ll miss his leadership and his workhorse mentality on and off the field. Who’s to say SG can handle the load, when he started getting the majority of the carries at the end of the season, he got hurt. Ticked off in Arizona.

  44. By AZJetfan2 on Mar 14, 2010 | Reply

    I’m kinda with the other fan in AZ. After Curtis, TJ was our most reliable workhorse!!! Hurts to see him go to another team instead of finishing the best years of his career with us. Good luck and God Bless, TJ! I do have optimistic faith in Shonn. LT could be a great mentor, although he does not seem to be the durable, strong young back needed for the grueling GROUND and POUND one two punch. With Leon’s return in question, I understand LT as a 3rd down receiving threat.

  45. By Cattdoggg999 on Mar 15, 2010 | Reply

    It’s ok TJ is gone, long as Leon and Greene are not leaving.

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