- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For his last game as Jets special teams coordinator, Mike Westhoff will have his son John by his side. It's a sweet indulgence from a team that has put together signed banners and other memorabilia for a coach who made HBO's "Hard Knocks" worth watching in 2010.
"I'm happy and proud to be at the place that I am at my career," Westhoff said. "Few of us get to leave this business of our volition and I'm able to do that, so for that I'm very, very proud."
The irascible Westhoff, who once claimed to have invented the onside kick with an indeterminable amount of seriousness, beat a bone cancer that left him with a limp after surgery. He also was easily the most entertaining coordinator interview of the week.
For his last news conference, Westhoff started off with an imitation of offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo's rant to the New York media, making everyone in the room laugh. Westhoff could be a candidate to be part of a broadcast team, and admitted he'd like to have a job like former official Mike Pereira's media gig, only one more suited to his insights.
But now, Westhoff will make his 34th or 35th -- he's not sure -- trip to Buffalo before leaving the special teams group in the hands of assistant Ben Kotwica. That is the plan, although any personnel decisions could be up in the air if general manager Mike Tannenbaum is ousted next week.
Westhoff admitted that it is tough to go out after such a dismal Jets season, but he doesn't have any designs on coaching again any time soon. After two AFC Championship Games and 12 years with the Jets, he had some optimism when it comes to the future.
"I think one of the mistakes that you make is when you are pretty good, like we were two years in a row, sometimes maybe you believe that you're better than you really are," Westhoff said. "You're trying to take that one step to get to the Super Bowl. But in reality you have a lot of things you still have to keep building.
"That't the bad news. The good news is, you're really not very far away. And I don't think this football team in the future is that far away. There's some real good foundation here."
9hOhm Youngmisuk and Rich Cimini