Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Jets give CB Berry a second chance
By Matt Ehalt
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Aaron Berry realizes he's running out of chances.
After being arrested twice within the span of one month, the cornerback was cut by the Lions in July. Now, he's with the Jets on a two-year deal, being given an opportunity that he doesn't want to waste.
"It's a blessing," Berry said Wednesday. "They gave me the second opportunity that a lot of people don't get. I plan to take full advantage of it and do what I can to help this team win some games."
Berry, 24, was accused of pointing a gun at three people in Pennsylvania, and also arrested for drunk driving. He also received a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. The Lions eventually parted ways with him, and the Jets, who have never been shy to give players with troubled pasts a shot, signed him after losing Darrelle Revis to an ACL.
The talented cornerback made it clear that the Jets have warned him about his behavior.
"(Rex) just wants to come in here, respect everybody in the locker room and just be disciplined," Berry said. "If they take me in, I won't make the same mistake as I did before. I'm just blessed to be here and thankful that they gave me a second chance."
While no player can replace Revis, the Jets hope their scheme can take advantage of Berry's man-to-man skills. Berry had 31 tackles and 11 pass deflections in 11 games with the Lions in 2011, and has just one interception in his career. Berry was an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh, where he met Revis, who recruited him to the school and was a senior when Berry was a freshman. Jets quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh also coached Berry in college.
Berry praised Revis for being helpful for both football and off the field lessons.
"Just to have him here as a mentor, he was a mentor for me back then, my freshman year was his last year of college, so to have him here and somebody to pick and bite at, take from his game, just clue me into the life outside of football as well," Berry said. "He told me just take this second opportunity and take it and run with it because you're not going to get a third. Just be ready to get going."
The Jets would obviously like to have Berry up and running as soon as possible, but he acknowledged that it might take some time to get the team concepts down and get in football shape. While he said he's been running and keeping himself in order, there isn't any activity that makes up for being on the practice field and playing those games every Sunday.
For now, Berry's just grateful to have a chance.
"I'm blessed the Jets gave me an opportunity and I'm very thankful and just ready to move forward with my life," he said.