With both of their top running backs declining to show for voluntary workouts this week, who has been taking handoffs for the New York Jets?
|Scott Boehm/Getty Images|
|Shonn Greene rushed for 1,850 yards last season at Iowa.|
Not Shonn Greene. He's not there either.
Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, both Pro Bowlers, want new contracts and have boycotted organized team activities so far. That could afford Greene a nice head start on his development once he waits out an NFL rule keeping him away.
"I don't know anything that's going on," Greene said Wednesday in reference to Jones and Washington. "I hear the news and stuff, but I don't really know what's tied into that.
"I do want to be a starter, but it does take time to develop. I just want to learn as much as I can and go from there. I want to go in and compete."
Greene, who the Jets selected with the first pick of the third round, plans to report for Monday's voluntary practice. Beyond rookie camp, NFL rules prohibit first-year players from reporting to their teams before May 16 or until their college holds final exams, whichever comes later.
Never mind that most prospects usually bag spring semester so they can concentrate on football. That's what Greene did after declaring for the draft with a year of eligibility left. He's nowhere near the University of Iowa campus.
"It's the rules," Greene said. "When there's things you can't control, there's no need to get frustrated about it. Why stress over it?
"I guess some people get frustrated, but you can take some positives from it. Just being drafted and having a chance to enjoy that with your family instead of going to work right away."
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez is barred from the Jets' facility, too. Greene laughed and said "I'm pretty sure he's frustrated by the situation."
Greene has demonstrated considerably more patience before.
After two seasons as an Iowa backup, he was ruled academically ineligible for 2007. He attended Kirkwood Community College to improve his grades and worked for $8 an hour at a local furniture warehouse.
"I wasn't taking care of what I was supposed to," Greene said. "I wasn't being disciplined or doing the right thing.
"It was just being young and dumb."
But Greene apparently learns lessons quickly. He came back for his junior year, won the starting job and turned in the greatest rushing season in Hawkeyes history. He ran for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, winning the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back.
"He's a big back with super vision," Jets coach Rex Ryan said soon after they drafted Greene. "He really does jump out when you watch that tape. That's what it takes in this league.
"He runs through arm tackles. He can see the hole and he hits it. He's not shy of hitting that hole. He's a downhill runner. I think the young man is going to be a tremendous player for us."
Undrafted through the first two rounds, the Jets had all night to think about Greene. They traded three draft picks (Nos. 76, 115 and 228) to the Detroit Lions to move up 12 spots and make Greene the initial selection of the second day.
"They made the move, and I greatly appreciate that," Greene said. "That shows how much interest and trust they have in me. So all I want to do is work hard and do what I can, follow directions.
"Expectations are there, but I can't worry about that. I just have to do what I can do."