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Jets' Ryan not giving up the Gholston ghost

2/20/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham   Gholston
INDIANAPOLIS -- For the second year in a row, the New York Jets expect Vernon Gholston to be an impact player.

Jets fans would settle for barely noticeable.

"I would anticipate Vernon having a big year for us this year," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Friday at the NFL scouting combine.

Ryan was speaking in sparkling Lucas Oil Stadium, next door to a pile of rubble that was the RCA Dome, where Gholston's performance last year infatuated the Jets enough to draft the Ohio State pass rusher sixth overall.

Gholston was a rookie ghost. He recorded one solo tackle and four assists. Of the 23 Jets who made their tackles list, Gholston ranked dead last. He played 15 games, started none and was a healthy scratch in Week 15.

But Ryan sees immense potential in Gholston, a freak of stature who played defensive end at Ohio State and struggled to learn outside linebacker.

"He's the type of physical presence that you look for," Ryan said. "What's happened in the past is in the past. We focus on our future and what's in front of us.

"I can tell you this: Vernon's been working out already. He's been through meetings. He sits with [defensive coordinator] Mike Pettin. Vernon Gholston wants to be an outstanding football player. He's showing a great passion for it. I would anticipate Vernon having a big year for us this year."

Ryan was asked if he would make Gholston his pet project.

"Anybody with ability, we've got to get the most out of all our guys," Ryan replied. "If that means I'm going to take a bigger turn at him, maybe that's factual. That might be a true statement."