Kendall Rips Team On First Day|
by: Brian Bohl | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, July 28, 2007
HEMPSTEAD, NY — Before training camp even officially commenced, Pete Kendall was given the rookie treatment. The only problem is the offensive lineman is a 12-year veteran who is unhappy with his contract.
As the Jets started two-a-day practices on Hofstra University’s campus yesterday, Kendall spent most of his time with the second-team. That move came after the guard was assigned to the rookie dorm, something coach Eric Mangini insisted was an honest mistake.
Mangini also said he spilt Kendall’s practice time, something he insisted he will be doing for other positions.
“Pete is alternating between the first and second team, which is exactly the same situation as it was in the spring,” Mangini said, “and that happens throughout training camp at all positions, so there has been no change in terms of that rotation. There really is no difference in it.
“I heard about the “rookie dorms.” There is no conspiracy theory here. There is no grassy knoll. I didn’t send out secret agents. There was a mix up. It was fixed. It’s been changed. The dorms are about 100 feet apart from each other.”
Regardless of his sleeping arrangement, Kendall said he is unhappy the Jets have not traded or released him. After morning practice, the 34-year-old said the only reason he reported to camp was to avoid being find the roughly $14,000 a day a holdout would entail.
“It didn’t make a lot of sense for me to give money back,” Kendall said. “I don’t understand why I’m still here. I clearly expressed that I don’t want to be here. I’m running with the second team.
“It’s seemingly evolved into the personal. The last time we spoke, it ended with me saying, ‘Eric, I don’t want to be here anymore.’ It's comical to the point of absurd at this point."
Mangini’s second season as head coach was also marred by another disgruntled player. Darrelle Revis, the No. 14 overall pick in April, was absent from the open practice. The cornerback became the Jets' first unsigned first-round selection to sit out the start of training camp since James Farrior in 1997.
But Kendall did participate, wearing his familiar No. 66 white practice jersey. One of his major responsibilities in last season’s camp was tutoring rookies Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. For his leadership ability, Mangini named him an offensive co-captain, though that honor wasn’t enough for the Jets to grant him a million dollar raise from his $1.7 million salary.
“I see us as a group of professionals and I really like the locker room and their approach and they are going to focus on their development and our progress and that is what I will focus on,” Mangini said.
After being cut from Arizona, the Jets signed Kendall in 2004. The 6-5, 292-pound lineman became of the franchise’s most media-savvy players while also providing a veteran presence at guard. He still criticized general manager Mike Tannenbaum and Mangini during minicamp, calling the front office “unprofessional” while asking for a trade or his release.
It was during those minicamps when Mangini occasionally replaced Kendall on the first team with Adrien Clarke . The former Boston College star said those workouts are not mandatory and should not impact his status on the depth chart.
“The collectively bargained agreement says that you can’t even infer that voluntary stuff is anything but voluntary,” he said when asked about his refusal to participate in some offseason drills. “On that basis, why should I expect to be second-team? I left here as a starter. I played well. If I’m not a starter, why go through this?
“I guess you would have to explain to them why they would want a player who doesn’t want to be here. To me, the writing is on the wall. I don’t have any hope of it being salvaged at this point.”
Ferguson enjoyed a successful rookie season. The Freeport native repeatedly praised Kendall for his helping his development, saying yesterday that he hopes the two sides can reach an understanding and move forward.
“Being a rookie, whenever a veteran takes his time to impact some wisdom on you, it’s always beneficial,” Ferguson said. “Pete is here and we’re working as a team. The situation will play out the way it is. When we’re on the field, we go out there, practice hard and leave that stuff behind.”