Saturday, April 9, 2011
Mark Sanchez invites Jets out West
By Rich Cimini
Barred from working out at the team's facility because of the NFL lockout, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has invited teammates to the West Coast for workouts near his home in Mission Viejo, Calif. It's tentatively scheduled for the first week in May.
Both LaDainian Tomlinson and Santonio Holmes said Saturday they received invites from Sanchez, who recruited about a dozen players last July for a few days of workouts at his old high school. It was dubbed "Jets West," and its primary purpose was to help Sanchez, who missed nearly the entire offseason because of knee surgery.
This time, it's out of necessity.
"To take that next step and do what we want to do [in 2011], we need to start the process of throwing the football around," Tomlinson said at a sports memorabilia show in Somerset, N.J.
Tomlinson, who has been working out on his own at his home in Texas, said he's planning to attend Sanchez's event. Holmes said he won't be there because of "a family issue." Holmes is a free agent, which also could be a factor.
The West Coast workouts are designed for skill-position players, according to Tomlinson, who has talked to linebacker Bart Scott about organizing workouts in New Jersey if the lockout continues beyond the first week of May.
"We're game-planning right now," Tomlinson said. "If the lockout doesn't end soon, we have to put something in place so we can all work out together."
Tomlinson said he's not concerned about the threat of injury. There's risk, but "this is what we do," he said. "At some point, you have to not worry about the injuries and get out there. When this is over, we've got to go out and play and we don't want to look like crap. We don't want to look like we haven't done anything."
The NFL's leading active rusher said the uncertainty caused by the lockout "puts guys in a bind," but he refused to push the panic button.
"These things have a way of working their way out at the right time," Tomlinson said. "Right now, it's kind of the whole issue of, nothing is urgent so we can drag our feet. As the season approaches, things get more serious and I think something will get done. It's like the Boston Red Sox, 0-6. They weren't ready to panic."
The "Jets West" camp sparked a minor controversy last summer. An unidentified team filed a formal complaint with the NFL, claiming the Jets violated training rules because coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer attended the sessions. They were in town for the major league All-Star game in Anaheim, and did show up for a couple of practices, but they claimed they were only there as spectators. The NFL Players' Association didn't file a complaint, which is the norm. In fact, fullback Tony Richardson, a member of the union's executive committee, was among the participants.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.