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News » Clemens confident he'll start for Jets

Clemens confident he'll start for Jets

Clemens confident he'll start for Jets
Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens insists he has no hard feelings toward rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. A phone call Clemens received from the former USC star the night the team traded up to select him fifth overall in the draft helped soften the blow.

"Mark called me that night, which meant a lot to me," Clemens said yesterday after team workouts at the Florham Park complex, his first public comments on the matter. "That's a real classy thing for that kid to do."

Although Clemens, 25, says he's not upset and that coach Rex Ryan has told him it will be an open competition this summer for the starter's job, it's likely Sanchez's to lose. He is expected to sign a contract guaranteeing him roughly $30 million.

"I'll certainly try to be as helpful to him as Chad (Pennington) was to me," said Clemens, who had met Sanchez before the draft because both are represented by agent David Dunn. "It'll be a great working relationship.

"I could get mad and get frustrated or I can try to get better. I'm going to try to get better. ... My opportunity is right now. In talking to coach Ryan, I've been told it's an open competition and I'll get a fair shot at the starting job. That's everything you can ask for."

Later, Clemens admitted there's some "weight that goes along with being the No. 5 pick (overall)," but maintains he's undaunted.

"My expectations haven't changed," said Clemens, who is entering his fourth NFL season. "I fully expect to be under center on opening day."

Clemens said he has taken note of how former Chargers quarterback Drew Brees responded when San Diego drafted Philip Rivers in the first round and how Browns quarterback Derek Anderson held off the drafted Brady Quinn. Brees and Anderson ended up with multiyear contracts. Brees, however, had to leave town to get his.

"It worked out for Drew," said Clemens, who is in the last year of his contract. "Sometimes when things happen in this business, which is so liquid and unstable, you have to have some faith that God has a plan out there."

* Jets guard Alan Faneca, who played five seasons with Plaxico Burress in Pittsburgh, said he would have no problem playing with Burress again.

"Plax is Plax and you hear that a lot," Faneca said. "He's going to do some things that some people, if you don't know a guy, you don't know where he's coming from.

"But as a teammate you know who he is and what he's about and what he puts together in the weight room and on the field. . . . My experience with Plax was nothing but good."

* Publicly, many Jets players said yesterday they didn't have a problem with another possible comeback by QB Brett Favre.

Privately, the idea didn't sit well with some.

"I wish somebody would come out and tell the truth about the guy," said one player, who requested anonymity. "I'm sick of him. He just came here to give it a try? My career is too short for that."

Safety Kerry Rhodes, not a big Favre fan, had a terse "no comment" when asked about Favre. Rhodes caused a stir after the season when he said if Favre wanted to return to the Jets , he needed to participate in the offseason workout program.

* After calling them, Sanchez held a pair of private throwing sessions with some of the Jets' veteran wide receivers last week before rookie minicamp. ... RB Leon Washington offered no update on contract negotiations but a deal will likely get done before the start of the season. ... QB Erik Ainge has returned to the team but would only reveal that it was "private matter" that kept him away for several weeks.

* Rhodes, who is the Jets' resident "Hollywood Hunk," shot this barb at Sanchez: "They say he's a pretty good-looking guy," said a smiling Rhodes, who has done some modeling and acting. "I want to see where I stand in that aspect."

Dave Hutchinson may be reached at dhutchinson@starledger.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 9, 2009

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