(Long Island, NY) Jets’ head coach Eric Mangini is not a man of many words. Anyone witnessing his briefings to the press can attest to that. To get a straight answer out of him is quite difficult, to say the least. He is from the Bill Pacells/Bill Belichick school, and it is hard to argue with success. Everyone on the beat knows that by now and works around it.
The situation with offensive lineman Pete Kendall is one that needs to be addressed, either it be in public or behind closed doors. The veteran guard would like his contract reworked, and may be a holdout once training camp opens up.
“What I’d say is with all contract matters, any of those discussions are private,” Mangini said on June 14. “I’d say in general our contracts, that situation, they’re entered into freely. There are concessions on both sides of any contract. That’s the nature of a contract.”
When asked if he was concerned if Kendall decides to holdout, Mangini said, “Really what I’m concerned about is today, this camp.”
Kendall addressed the media the same day and stated his case. “I had a conversation with Mike [Tannenbaum, Jets GM] two weeks ago and he said what I’m asking for is not unreasonable and he agrees that I’m underpaid. I think we have an agreement; we just don’t have a contract.”
Kendall has not committed to reporting for training camp, although he did show up for team workouts and mini-camp sessions. “I’m not prepared to say that right now,” he said in response to the question. “I haven’t decided definitely that I’ll be at camp. I guess I have to cross that bridge when I get there. What this does to the team is their consideration.”
In March, Kendall’s agent and Tannenbaum had a meeting where they seemingly came to an agreement. One contingent was that Kendall had to meet with Mangini, who told Kendall that he (Mangini) didn’t think of him as a player on the move. “I came down under the false impression assuming Eric and I were on the same page,” Kendall said.
Kendall feels that there is some miscommunication between Mangini and Tannenbaum concerning him. “I have no idea if they are on the same page or not so I wouldn’t even care to speculate if there is a problem between the two of them,” said Kendall.
There is no denying what Kendall brings to the table. He is a 12-year warrior in the trenches and was a big part of last season’s success on the offensive line. He played in between two rookies, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. Right now at guard, the Jets have Adrien Clarke and Brandon Moore. Other offensive lineman that can play both guard and tackle are Na’Shan Goddard, Wade Smith, and rookies Jacob Bender, Dominic Moran, Robert Turner and Andrew Wicker.
Experience on the line is important. Kendall started 15 games a year ago and that is not easy to replace. With a young line and a new number one running back (Thomas Jones, offseason trade with the Chicago Bears), a stud guard would look good for a team hoping to go far.