For a guy that's been on five NFL teams, traded a couple times and even released Thomas Jones sure does have a lot of friends across the league. Wednesday was the first day players and coaches from the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets talked to the media and of course one of the story lines in New York is the return of Thomas Jones, who was a highly productive member of the team for three seasons from 2007-09.
Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez, as well as other Jets players, were asked about playing for Jones and you see pretty much the same descriptions -- great teammate, hard worker, team leader.
Ryan says that, while he roots for Jones personally, he won't be rooting for him this weekend.
"The thing is, this organization and myself included, I thought the world of Thomas," Ryan said (via NYJets.com) of Jones' exit after the 2009 season. "We all did, and we all do. But not this week. [joking] I'd rather see him on the sideline. But I know he's going to be raring to go, he's a great competitor. I always appreciated that in him. It's funny, we took out an ad in one of the papers, basically letting Kansas City know what they got in Thomas Jones. I think that might have been the first time that that's ever been done in this league. It just showed, it was a token of appreciation that this organization had for Thomas.
"Sometimes you can't always keep everybody, and that was one of those cases. Clearly, Thomas was a great back for us. He had over 1,300 yards, his career high, that season. Let's face it, he got the tough yards when we needed it as well and I'll always have a great deal of admiration for Thomas. But like I said, this week, not so much [laughing]. This week we have to put it on him. He's going to try to put it on us, we're going to try to put it on him."
Here's that ad in the Kansas City Star when Jones first arrived. Pretty cool.
After the jump I've got a quote from Mark Sanchez on Thomas Jones, along with Todd Haley.
Mark Sanchez's Wednesday press conference:
He was one of the best teammates I've ever had. [He was] just a real team leader, especially during that playoff push. He would talk to the offense the night before games and remind us of what it was like and told us what it would be like to play in the Super Bowl. He had been there before with the Bears. He didn't say much, but when he did, it was important. It was serious [and] it was from the heart. He was one of the best players I've ever been around, so that was a fun time. I'm looking forward to seeing him.
Todd Haley's conference call with the New York media:
Thomas has been tremendous, he really has. He's a true professional and he's been nothing but an unselfish leader that helps so much in the progress of Jamaal [Charles] last year and continued progress even with Jamaal going through a very difficult season for himself personally. Thomas has been a big part of helping him kind of through that and now helping Dexter [McCluster] and Jackie Battle. When he is kind of in the spotlight he brings everything that he has, and when he's not in the spotlight he's bringing everything he has. He's somebody that I'm really happy is a part of our team and has been a big part of helping us kind of grow as a team.