Dimitri Patterson never has been mentioned with the top cornerbacks in the NFL, but he obviously feels he's an underrated talent. His self-confidence was apparent Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.
"Obviously, I don’t have the sexiest or flashiest name or I don’t have a lot of hype behind my name," Patterson said. "The thing about it is when you turn on the tape, with the opportunity that has been given to me ... my numbers speak for themselves. ... I have been able to show that, when the opportunity is given, I can play at a high level and I can handle the top receivers."
The New York Jets gave him a one-year, $3 million contract, which consists of a $1 million signing bonus, a $1.5 million base salary and $500,000 in roster bonuses ($31,250 for every game he's on the active 46). The size of the contract suggests Patterson will be on the field a lot. He said he will have the opportunity to replace Antonio Cromartie in the starting lineup.
"They told me that there is definitely a strong opportunity there for me to come in and pick up where I left off last year," said Patterson, who started four games for the Miami Dolphins before a groin injury forced him to the sideline.
Patterson revealed that he underwent surgery last December to correct the problem, saying he feels "great." That's the knock on him, that he's injury prone. Patterson, who turns 31 next month, has missed 24 games the past two seasons. The man he's replacing, Cromartie, never missed a game due to injury.
"I just ask that [the] individual look at what I have been able to do when given the opportunity, and look at that as a football player and not someone that has a lot of hype behind his name or is hyped up," he said. "[Just look at me] as a football player who has done a lot with the little opportunity that has been given to him."
The Jets also introduced wide receiver Jacoby Ford via conference call. Ford, who spent four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, said he will compete for the kickoff-return job and, possibly, the punt-returning job. They could use a boost in those areas. Like Patterson, Ford is trying to shake the label that he's injury prone. He missed the 2012 season, recovering from foot surgery. He claimed he's still as fast as he was when he came out of Clemson in 2010, which means he's pretty fast. He ran a 4.28 in the 40.
"The exact same or faster [than when I came out of school]," said Ford, who signed a one-year deal for probably about $1 million. "I feel that confident in my running."