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Leon Returns, ‘Feels the Love,’ Signs Tender

Posted by Randy Lange on April 15, 2010 – 2:06 pm

Leon Washington is back and he and the Jets are moving forward together.

Washington, a restricted free agent, signed his qualifying offer from the Jets today, then spoke with reporters who were already here at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for the team’s annual predraft news conference that concluded just before Washington took the dais.

"It’s great to be back. Walking in here today, I felt all the love I felt the last four years," said Washington, who returned to the complex to continue his rehab from surgery after breaking his leg early in Game 7 at Oakland last year. He added that the entire time he was training in Florida, "I was wearing my Jets gear every day and hopefully I would get back here, either by a team signing me to an offer sheet and the Jets matching the offer or by me signing my tender.

"So far I’ve done everything the right way," he said of his rehab. "I beat the infection stage early on. I rehabbed extremely well. The last five, six weeks I was gone, I made tremendous progress doing everything the right way. I’ll sit down with the doctors and the trainers next week and we’re going to set a timetable each week and each month and I’m going to do my best to hit those targets."

Washington was back for the first time since leaving the team complex last month to rehab on his own at Athletes Performance Institute in Pensacola, Fla. The Jets were constantly monitoring his progress, but general manager Mike Tannenbaum was happy to see him back in the building.

"I spoke to Leon this morning," Tannenbaum said. "We sure do [expect him to play for the Jets this season]. We’re excited to have him back. You never know what would happen if the phone should ring, but our expectations are that he’ll be here."

As an RFA, Washington didn’t receive an offer sheet from any other NFL team, due to the unknown nature of how he’ll bounce back from the injury. But both Washington and Tannenbaum spoke optimistically of what’s ahead for Leon in Green & White in 2010.

"I feel confident in my abilities," Washington said. "The main thing is getting healthy. I feel when I do get healthy, I’ll be able to contribute to this team in a significant way, whether it’s returning kicks, catching the ball out of the backfield or running the ball. Looking at the moves the Jets have been making this offseason, we’re trying to put ourselves in a situation where we’re going to be in the Super Bowl. And if I can do anything to help the team get there, it’s going to be a tremendous fit for me."

"Leon has an unbelievable work ethic," said Tannenbaum. "For a guy his height, he breaks a lot of tackles with sheer leg strength, and that’s through hard work and a great work ethic. It was a significant injury but I would expect Leon to help us this year in a number of ways. We had a great talk, I’m sure the few weeks outside the building recharged his batteries, and he’s ready to roll."

Washington also wasn’t concerned about head coach Rex Ryan saying at last month’s owners’ meeting in Orlando, Fla., that he saw Leon in a third-down role, with Shonn Greene ticketed to get much of the carries and LaDainian Tomlinson coming in to replace Thomas Jones.

"I talked to Rex. He told me his stance on that is when I get healthy, he’ll see if I can carry more of a load and I’m back to the old Leon. That’s all that was, initially starting off doing things I did in the past and as I got healthy and got better, he’d increase my load."

Washington, punctuating his remarks with his trademark smile, said he’s been running for three weeks or so. "Percentage-wise, I’m still down there, but I can run a straight line," he said. Tannenbaum said he thought "anatomically, he’s pretty much back to being healed," and the GM’s understanding is that Leon will be back in the Jets’ offseason strength and conditioning program.

While declining to offer any early timetables until he meets with the medical and training staffs, Washington did say his plans are to practice in training camp.

"I feel good, my body feels good," he said. "Everything’s on the up-and-up."

Poll Position

Today’s poll question on NFL.com (more of a poll fill-in-the-blank) might be of interest to wearers of the Green & White:

The team to beat in the AFC East in 2010 will be the …

I hope I’m not giving anything away but with a mere 143,790 votes in, the results are:

Bills: 3%

Dolphins: 15%

Patriots: 21%

Jets: 60%

April polls aren’t one of the January playoff tiebreakers and there’s a lot of hard work ahead. But it’s nice for the Green & White to be getting some respect from around NFL Nation.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Randy Lange | 61 Comments »

61 Responses to “Leon Returns, ‘Feels the Love,’ Signs Tender”

  1. By Ira on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Good Luck Leon,
    Mr. T still left the window open for a trade and i still feel if they get an offer at some point between now and the end of August they could trade him. Just want him to get back 100% hopefully for the Jets.

  2. By Anthony on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    i’m happy to see Leon is back and seems to be in good spirits about playing. Maybe he just needed some time away to get his head right who knows. But hopefully it all works out for him. The way he prepares himself this guy could be faster then he was before because he has rested his body for a while. But NEON LEON is in the BUILDING…J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

  3. By Jetfan on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    I sure hope Leon comes back this year like most of us are. He was the spark-
    plug that won us a few games. I also think he deserves a big raise especially
    if he performs up to even 75% of his ability. With Leon in the backfield the jets
    truly have a legitimate shot at the SB. I like many am tired of hearing “the same
    ol Jets” tirade. Go Jets!!!!

  4. By Kev Kage on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Excellent news. Leon was one of the only bright spots during some bad seasons the past few years Hopefully he’s back to his old self and the Jets take care of him for many seasons to come

  5. By Joe J (NY 2 SC) on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Welcome back Leon……. You are a tremendous asset to this team. You are a threat at every position they put you in….and they know it… Stay strong work hard.. The family and I will see you lighting up the scoreboard in Sept. GO GANG GREEN

  6. By Rich on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Welcome back Leon.

  7. By Charlie on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Im so glad Leons back… I still wonder what kind of season he would of had if he never got hurt… None the less, We got our triple threat back!!!

  8. By Vincent on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Fantastic news!! Glad to have you back Leon. Your loss would have been felt. Hope you get back up to 100% soon causing the Jets to stick that franchise tag all over you. J-E-T-S…JETS! JETS! JETS!

  9. By Bill on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Hopefully with Leon back and with Santonio Holmes coming over, they should be the final pieces in the puzzle. Even with Santonio suspended for 4 games, if Leon is back 90~100%, they’ve clinched the AFC East from day one and now it’s on the big prize. No more Same Old Jets anymore….

  10. By Jeremy on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    That’s fantastic news. Really happy to hear Leon is back. He was sorely missed, but it paved the way for Shonn to get touches and it came with a price of losing TJ, but when a door closes a window opens and we now have Shonn, Leon and LT. Looking forward to the draft.
    Welcome Back Leon!

  11. By Bob Kole on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Glad is he is back, if he can get back to where he was health wise imagine Leon and SH waiting for kicks?

    I would not worry about a trade, he broke leg into 2 separate pieces, no team is going to give anything of value for him until he can prove himself.

  12. By jak_jet fan on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    good luck leon. i hope you make a full recovery.

  13. By LosJets on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    I DON’T blame the guy………he probably wants a Super Bowl Ring too……………
    Cause you know thats whats going to happen this year….
    With L.T, Cromartie, Pool, and now Holmes………………………………………

  14. By die hard jets fan on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    randy is there a possibility that the jets might trade leon or is there any rumors but got if he isnt traded i hope he plays like he did before the injury welcome back leon

  15. By 37 year fan on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    THANK GOD !!! He is back where he belongs. Remember how emotional his return was, on crutches, at the last game in the Meadowlands ? Symbolic , of The Jets and their fans . Leon is going to tear it up . Watch.

  16. By tnjetsfan6 on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Glad to have you back Leon. I think you can be a huge asset in the special teams and as a multi-purpose back out of the backfield. I really cringed when I saw you get hurt and that is a tough injury to come back from. Mike T. and Rex are doind a great job this off season and signing Leon was another step towards the goal of the Bowl. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!!!

  17. By Randy Lange on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    die hard, as Mike Tannenbaum said today, “You never know what would happen if the phone should ring but our expectations are he’ll be here.”

  18. By 37 year fan on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Speaking of back,…. Back to the draft . We can trade up and pick up Gronkowski . This guys’ got the best hands in the draft . At 6′ 6″ he knocks two guys down every play. That is what we need to do at Miami. That is what we must do at New England. Our strategy last year was dead on. Quality over quantity. We can lose some picks down low to pick up key players. Players we’ll want to keep.

  19. By GManzi on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    He truly is the “Energizer Bunny”. He’s the best – we need a guy like him!

  20. By scjoe on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    That is great news for the Jets, but I am very curious as to how long it will take before his cutting ability is back to where it was. I think the speed should be there, but that cutting ability may be a concern.

  21. By DanfromLI on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Leon Washington is one of the most underrated, talented running backs in the NFL, as well as a dangerous kick/punt returner as well. He’s also been one of my favorite jets to watch ever, i’ve been watching the jets over 18 years now. If we let him to to another team not only would it be a nightmare to defend against him, but our team would be missing a huge part of the puzzle i think to making it to the superbowl. Good moves keeping brad smith and eric smith both are versatile and very underrated

  22. By Linda on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    We love you Leon!!! So glad you are back!!!!!!!!!! Love MY J-E-T-S!!!!

  23. By Ira on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, I heard those same remarks about questions asked a few days before Kerry was traded. I guess it just the nature of the business. But as you can see from these posts Leon is one of the most beloved Jets of all-time. I hope its all good for him.

  24. By AOKP on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    pay the man….leon deserves it

  25. By Frankie on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    PAY LEON!!!! I WON’T GO TO ANOTHER GAME IF LEON DOES NOT SHOW UP IN GREEN IN WHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. By Peter on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s hope we don’t trade him now!

  27. By terry may on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    thank god leon back!!!! he’s one of the best players i’ve seen in years, and give him a longtime contract,and lock him down. have a good year leon.

  28. By Wayne on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    BIG SCOOP – TAYLOR WILL OFFICIALLY BE A JET BY TOMORROW! Jet fan living in Fl the past 24 years. Heard on local radio show that JT was seen at Miami airport with wife heading to NY. I had my doubts but it seems he’s heading there to sign. Just remember you heard it first right here.


  29. By Rob on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Bah whatever. What has Leon done for the team really. I just can’t understand the obsession with this player. Don’t get me wrong I hope he has gotten healthy and lives up to the hype, but I don’t ever envision this RB carrying a full load like TJ who IMO is the RB who should have gotten the $ he deserved for his performance. Leon is coming off a really serious injury. How long will he last? Only time will tell….

  30. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Glad to have Leon back just one more stepping stone in achieving our SB aspirations hope Dearth isn’t far behind .. That being said my gut tells me with all these Veteran pickups at key positions ,makes me believe Rex and Mike -T are preparing to make a serious trade into the top 5 spot again & get the best Pass rusher available.. J-Taylor really .. TV Ad about using drugs comes to mind (((JUST SAY NO)))

  31. By JT on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Well I was kinda hoping to get a second Rd pick for Leon but I am happy he back. Keep Grounding and Pounding that ball.

  32. By Brody on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Don’t trade him off like Rhodes! Leon is a ‘Jets guy’ that every NY fan loves, like Wayne Chrebet…. I like LT and all, but I wish Leon could have been signed before him.

  33. By Bob F on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    It’s great to have you back Leon. This just makes us more dangerous. Go J-E-T-S Jets! Jets!! Jets!!!

  34. By SteveK on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Welcome back Leon, we missed you. Can’t even imagine this Jets teams potential for the coming season. Just have to concentrate on one game at a time. First off, humiliate the giants in preseason and claim “Our House”.
    J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets

  35. By julia on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Leon WE LOVE YOU!

  36. By wd on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    welcome home leon…let’s go to work

  37. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    When he seemed to want to leave, I wondered how much teams wanted him. But I agree with Bob Kole, no one’s likely to offer much till they see how he plays so make your comeback where you belong, Leon! (and lose the loser agent). LosJets, I too thought maybe he looked at TJ’s foolish move and decided he’d rather stay with a rising team, and don’t anybody tell me picking up SH had nothing to do with that. If they can tell he might be okay sooner than later, RB in the draft might not be critical.

  38. By PAjetsfan on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Welcome back Leon!!!! Lock and load buddy, the 2010 season is just a few months away, J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

  39. By Rick on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Outstanding! Glad to see LW back in camp. Now, I’m really excited about the upcoming season.

  40. By richard nellis on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    It is awseome to have leon back.The team has the puzzle in place.Being a JET
    fan for 45 years the excitement i am feeling is euphoric.I hope to see them in training camp at cortland,and get my picture taken with REX,,its like being a METS fan .YOU GOTTA BELIEVE.

  41. By Johnny C on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Lets go Leon!!! So glad your back. And on my birthday too, best gift ever. My favorite all-time JET!!! He’s the most electrifying Jet ever, and never reluctant to put it out there, make big blocks, big plays, even run down defenders who have picked off the qb. I support you buddy 100% Please stay in New York for your entire career.

  42. By joeyjets12fl on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    hey wayne sorry to burst your bubble about Taylor but he got on a plane to go out of the country for a few days. supposed to have a meeting with the HC on monday. said he’ll make a descision before the draft.

  43. By Jøe on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    WOOHOO! Definitely glad to know Leon is back! Hopefully it stays that way. But if for some reason he does get traded, he’s the type of player I’ll root for no matter what. Next thing to do is extend Revis’ contract. Unless we have already? I don’t know, but I know there was talk of it. Any help?

  44. By 37 year fan on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    I hope we don’t trade Leon . He is a symbol of that never say die Jet spirit . … Regard your soldiers as your children , and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons , and they will stand by you even unto death.

  45. By Mike Jet Vet on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Jet 64 I usually agree with you but not about Leon’s agent ..you and some others blaming his agent for not getting leon paid last year .How bout maybe Leon decided to honor a contract he signed instead of only thinking about himself and sitting out disrupting our great run last year ..Lets give Leon the credit willing to bet his agent had nothing to do with it .. Just so happens he got injured nature of the game if he comes back to form he will get his chips and then some no doubt

  46. By 37 year fan on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Jetfan please do not mention S.O.J. ever again ……. I think we laid that to rest last year.

  47. By The jetfighter666 on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    S.O.J.’s DIED WHEN WOODY JOHNSON BOUGHT THE TEAM . The only people that use that term now are non fans.Remember this team didn’t even have a G.M. til the 90’s with Dick Stienburg. We were a team living on an island apart from the n.f.l..We never even traded back then.Do you think that any G.M. would have destroyed a great q.b. like Ken O Brian by letting him get beat up every year til he was so afraid even to run a ball 7 yards into the end zone? Because he couldn’t take the punishment anymore??

  48. By NorCalJet on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Rob have you been watching the same Jets team as the rest of us? Leon has made numerous contributions to this team and is a “player”. Even my wife (a fair weather football fan) claims Leon as her favorite football player. Her first and only “favorite” since we have been together (18yrs). Good Luck Leon! I can’t wait to see you on the field with Gang Green. Go Jets!!!

  49. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    I see your point, MJV, and I respect guys who honor contracts. But unless it comes out, as Leon hinted yesterday, that the deal he turned down was for a lot less, it’s hard to understand him turning down that kind of money when he’s not an every-down back and not likely to ever be one, though that’s what Lynn says he has in mind for SG. Still wouldn’t let Best get past our first pick. I believe it was the Honorable Thomas Jones, on the NFL site the other day, who said you can’t have enough RBs.

  50. By Row on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    I’d like to think this means Leon is here for good, but Mr. T deals vets and players that tick him off like it’s nothing. Last time I bought a jersey while listening to comments by the GM, I ended up with a players jersey that was on another team within a week. No comment. I just don’t understand the offseason moves. ..

  51. By charliejet on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Welcome home Leon – great to have you back!!!!! Now lets go for more – looking forward to the draft. I have a feeling the Jets will surprise us yet again.

  52. By Harv on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    LEON,LEON ,LEON!!!!!!!! Hey Mr. T. Don’t trade this JET!!!!!!!!!

  53. By Jets Since 97 Riley on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Leon is the man, TJ may have carried the load but Leon had soo many 20+ yard runs it was crazy. Dude is lightning fast and remains to be seen if he can rehab to the same Leon he was. But like many have said, I love this guy, he is a spark plug! The Jets will be the team to beat in a now tougher division, And with Leon back with Mark and the boys I am more excited for this season than ever before.

    Not since we drafted Keyshawn have i been this happy! J-E-T-S!

  54. By DannyG on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    I am (also) so glad to have Leon back. I am also happy with the stance the team is taking with him. It’s better not to make any promises until he is fully healthy. With a healthy Leon the Jets have (arguably) the best Backs (counting FB), the best offensive line and the best CB tandem in the NFL. Put that all together with a WR corps that has vastly improved from last year and the NFL’s best defense with a healthy Kris Jenkins and I’m looking at February flights to Dallas already!

  55. By Greg from Albany on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Trade Leon???? We couldn’t trade this cat if we wanted to right now. No team in its right mind is taking a shot with this guy after that injury.

  56. By PJ on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    The Jets as an organization look like Geniuses…..wit everything they done thus far and all before the draft( Bonus points if JT jumps onboard prior to draft) Its awesome….I am of the opinion that Leon will not be traded “unless” he is part of some BLOCKBUSTER…Jets are great


  57. By Howie D on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    Great to have Leon back!

  58. By Anthony Bifulco on Apr 25, 2010 | Reply

    hey greg from albany……what a difference a week makes, huh?

  59. By tony bifulco on Apr 25, 2010 | Reply

    Frankie Said:Thu, April 15, 2010 – 5:10pm ET “PAY LEON!!!! I WON’T GO TO ANOTHER GAME IF LEON DOES NOT SHOW UP IN GREEN IN WHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”…………………c YA

  60. By John on Apr 25, 2010 | Reply

    Leon is now a seahawk!

  61. By Darrell on Apr 26, 2010 | Reply

    The Jets are world beaters between March and August. Time to make that happen when it counts now.

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