Speculation the past few days was that eight-year veteran nose tackle Sione Po‘uha’s days in green and white were coming to a close. That speculation turned into an official transaction this afternoon as the Jets announced that “Big Bo” had been released.
Po‘uha was the Jets’ third-round selection, 88th overall, of the 2005 draft out of Utah. After a slow first four seasons with the team, including the ’06 season that he spent on IR, his career picked up speed in the middle of the Jets’ defensive front.
He started 50 of the Jets’ 54 games from 2009-11 (including the six playoff games) and put up solid numbers each of those seasons (61 tackles in ’09, 46 tackles; two sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss/no gain, three fumble recoveries in ’10; 55 tackles, sack, one forced fumble, two recoveries and a safety in ’11).
Also during this time he became the elder statesman among the D-linemen and a go-to locker room guy with his thoughtful, sometimes even lyrical comments on himself, his fellow linemen, his defense and his team.
A year ago, Po‘uha could have become an unrestricted free agent but was happy to be able to re-sign with the Jets.
“Every player that approaches the last year of their contract and enters the screen door of free agency, there’s always a possibility,” he said at the time of not re-signing with his only NFL team. “But in my mind I always wanted to stay with the Jets, be with the Jets. Me and my agents, they had an understanding that I always wanted to be with the Jets, and I’m just glad it worked out that way.”
However, last season didn’t play out as planned as Bo, 33, bothered by a balky back from the offseason, sat out the preseason and four regular-season games and averaged only 25 defensive snaps in the 12 games he played. He finished with 38 tackles, a four-year low, and no tackles behind the line for the first time since ’07.
The Jets had no comment on whether Po‘uha could return after the initial wave of the NFL’s unrestricted free agent signing period dies down. In general, first-year general manager John Idzik stated his philosophy about cutting and then re-signing players during a conference call with the club’s season ticket holders earlier this month.
“I don’t think we ever shut the door on anything, especially when it comes to your own players,” Idzik said. “You get in free agency and it’s constant change day to day, it’s a little unpredictable, but you just have to let it kind of take its form and let it play out and see what you’re able to do as the pieces start to fall into place, and hopefully you’re able to retain some of your guys. So we go in with that mindset, that we never close the door and we’ll see what happens.”
Tags: John Idzik, Sione Pouha, unrestricted free agency
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