Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Shaun Ellis: Jets have 'no loyalty'
By Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- After 11 seasons of trying to beat 'em, Shaun Ellis decided to join 'em -- and he ended up in the Super Bowl with the team he used to hate.
The former New York Jets defensive end is on Cloud XLVI, enjoying life as a member of the New England Patriots, but he still harbors some bitterness toward his former team. Ellis, recalling his divorce from the Jets, said Tuesday he found their contract offer insulting -- a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum, $910,000.
"Yeah, I did. No loyalty," Ellis said at media day. "They preached that the whole time -- loyalty, loyalty, blah, blah, blah."
Ellis, 34, the longest-tenured defensive lineman in Jets history, was an unrestricted free agent last offseason after starting 15 games for them in 2010. But once they used their first-round pick on defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, Ellis felt like he was cast aside.
Not only was he upset with their offer, but Ellis said "it was how they made it" that really peeved him. He suggested general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan weren't upfront with him.
"They called and said, 'We're going to let Rex speak with you,' " Ellis said. "He said, 'We want you to come back, but we're not going to start you.' I'm like, OK. Tannenbaum said, 'We've got other guys in front of you, we're offering you the minimum. We'll get back to you.'
"It's all how it went about. Just be stand-up, straight up. Just tell me the truth from the start. I'm a big boy, I can handle it. I just felt like there was a lot of sugar coating."
Soon after the lockout was settled, Ellis signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Patriots, the Jets' longtime nemesis. You could argue that loyalty is a two-way street, and that Ellis was a sell out, but he insisted that wasn't the case.
"I didn't. They didn't want me," said Ellis, revealing that he will consider retirement after the Super Bowl. "That was obvious by what they offered me. ... It was a no-brainer. I gave them an opportunity and they said, 'Nope.' "
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, looking for an experienced defensive lineman with the versatility to line up in 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, jumped at the chance to sign Ellis. Belichick, a former Jets assistant, has signed many ex-Jets over the years. Even though the so-called Border War is intense, he has no problem reaching across the rivalry to grab a player.