Kris Jenkins apparently thought about retiring over the offseason.
"This is the first year that retirement really crossed my mind," said Jenkins, a defensive tackle who turns 31 on Aug. 3. "You hear people talk about the end, but you start feeling those emotions, and it’s a trip, honestly. You have anxiety issues sometimes."
He continued: "Look, I’ve been playing football since I was 8. I’m getting tired. Like, I’m not tired of it yet, but I’m starting to get tired."
The experiment confirmed to Jenkins his lack of career regrets, and he said he decided to listen to his position coach, Mark Carrier, who told him to look no further than the next season.
Jenkins also considered the new direction of his life, including his first wedding anniversary recently and his responsibility to his three young children. All of that played a role, but with training camp now two weeks away, with a season full of promise on the horizon, Jenkins said that one factor, Coach Rex Ryan, registered as most important.
"The biggest thing was Rex," Jenkins said. "If it had been any other coach, it probably would have been my last year."
It's certainly a good thing that he didn't retire. The Jets went to the AFC Championship Game last season without Kris for most of the year. Getting him back is an impact acquisition.
I'm excited to see what Rex does with big Kris this year. Unlike a year ago, we now know there is a high quality nose tackle behind him in Sione Pouha. The Jets can rotate the tackles early in the year so Kris doesn't wear down like he did in 2008. Pouha's presence also gives Rex some freedom in finding creative uses for Jenkins. Pouha can line up on the nose, and Jenkins can spend time at end if it creates a mismatch. Rex had Haloti Ngata at end similarly in Baltimore. We'll see Kris at the playmaking three technique when the Jets give a 4-3 look. I remember Jenkins roaming in the middle linebacker area and blitzing in Houston last year. With Sione in the mix, the possibilities are endless because there will be a strong anchor at tackle.
This story only brings emphasis to the urgency of each season in the NFL. We can say the Jets have a young team and should contend for years. This is true, but nobody knows what the next year will bring. Gang Green may have to figure out how to replace Jenkins in a year.