Q. Thomas, congratulations. Can you just talk a little bit about why the
Jets are a good fit for you and just your general reaction to being here in New
THOMAS JONES: I'm very, very excited. I had a great time in Chicago, and it
was a great experience for me playing there, making it to the Super Bowl last
year with those guys. But, you know, I'm very, very excited to be here in New
York. It's a great city. We had a chance to play the Jets this year, and the
energy and the excitement that we felt up here at the Meadowlands and just being
in New York in general was something that was special. I'm excited about the
opportunity. They have a great team. They have a lot of great players on this
team, and I'm just excited about being here.
Q. You're going to be coming in perhaps a year removed from Curtis Martin's tenure here. He didn't play last year obviously, but a lot of fans will
connect you to Curtis as being the next in the line of featured tailbacks that
can help the Jets greatly. How do you feel about moving into that same role that
Curtis filled for a number of numbers?
THOMAS JONES: Curtis Martin is one of the best backs of all time in the NFL.
Like I said, I'm just excited about being here in New York, having an
opportunity to help this team win. They have an exciting team, they have a lot
of great players like I said before. I'm just one of the guys on the team that's
of the mentality to come in and just try to help this program and get to the
level that they're trying to get to.
Q. What's your understanding of your role? Are you going to be a featured
guy or are you just going to have 15 to 20 carries a game? What have the Jets
THOMAS JONES: I'm here to help this team win. The best players play, and
that's a great situation to be in there because it's an opportunity to go out
there and compete. Competition makes everyone better. My mentality is just to
come in here, do the best I can to be productive on the field and the meeting
room and the weight room and just be the leader that I've been at the Chicago Bears and bring something positive to the team.
Q. Do you have a preference? Are you some guys say that they need 20
carries before they get going. What's your approach to that?
THOMAS JONES: Any time you're a skill guy and you have a ball in your hands
you love the opportunity to make plays to help the team win. Obviously you want
to get as many opportunities as possible. But that will be proven in practice,
and that's what I'm looking forward to is getting a chance to go into the
offseason program, getting to know my teammates. I know a couple of guys up
here that came in the draft with me and I've met guys just being in the NFL. I'm
just excited about getting a chance to meet these guys on this team. Everyone
has said a lot of positive things about this organization and the players on
this team, and I'm just happy to be a part of it.
Q. Congratulations. First of all, in your mind were the extension talks,
did they go fairly easily, and was everyone on the same page with that?
THOMAS JONES: As for the extension, that is between the organization and my
agent. I really didn't have much to do with that. I actually just came in, met
everyone, had great conversations with everyone, and I just left that up to my
Q. Thomas, you accounted for more offense in the last two seasons than
everybody but Tiki Barber for his team. Why would the Bears want to trade you?
THOMAS JONES: That's one situation that you might want to address with the
Bears. You know, I had a great, great time in Chicago. I want to thank Jerry
Angelo and Lovie Smith and the Bears' organization for giving me the opportunity
to come in there as a free agent. They definitely gave me a spark in my career.
All the guys that I played with in Chicago, we were always very, very close, and
we had a special season last year making it to the Super Bowl, and the fans of
Chicago and the city of Chicago showed us so much support, showed me so much
support, that it's something I'll never forget. But in the NFL sometimes it
doesn't go the way that you may think it's going to go, and you just adjust.
Like I said, that situation is something that you might want to address with the
Q. Can Cedric flourish as your replacement?
|Cedric Benson (Getty Images)|
THOMAS JONES: Cedric Benson has a lot of talent. He's a talented guy. When
you move into the feature role, there is a lot more responsibility. Coach
Spencer is a great running backs coach. I had a great relationship with him, not
only as a coach but as a friend. He had so much advice for me just to make me a
better football player, and I'm sure he'll pass that same advice to Cedric
Q. Obviously you're not coming here as a free agent. What kind of sway did
you feel like you had as far as where you ended up? And if so, what did you like
about the Jets that drew you here?
THOMAS JONES: Just the fact that they're a team that you could tell just
watching them on film, I watch a lot of film, and especially I watch the offense
and the defense and they had guys that played hard. I met with Coach Mangini
yesterday, and he's a great guy, definitely the type of coach you want to play
for. They have a lot of energy here in New York. Just coming out when we were
getting ready to play the Jets, and we came out for the game, just the energy of
the stadium, the fans, I mean, it was an away game for us, but just the energy
that I felt was something special, and I look forward to experiencing that and
being on the team.
Q. Mike Tannenbaum talked about how during the first four years of your
career I think the percentage was 40 percent of your team's plays. At this point
how young do your legs feel?
THOMAS JONES: The thing about any situation, I was at Arizona and I was
sharing carries with Michael Pittman, so fortunately I didn't get beat up as the
typical back would as far as getting a lot of carries. I go to Tampa Bay and
there's a running back who I'm sharing with there, too, so I've been blessed in
my career to be around a lot of different running backs, learning a lot of
different things about offenses and learning from those guys that I played with.
Unfortunately I'll be 29 years old this year, but I haven't had a lot of carries
for a 29yearold back. I'm a workout warrior. I love working out, I love
taking care of my body. I'm very in tune with my body and how I feel. So the way
I feel right now, I could play for a long, long time, and I'm just happy that
the Jets showed an interest in me to bring me here.
Q. Just to clarify, you're coming off a team that went to the Super Bowl.
Why did you want to be traded out of Chicago?
THOMAS JONES: You know what, it wasn't really a situation where I wanted to
be traded. It was a situation where I wanted to have an opportunity to do what
I'm capable of doing, and that's going somewhere and providing leadership like I
did in Chicago. Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson, we all were running backs
there and we all made plays. But sometimes in the NFL it's something that you
have to adjust, and that's what I've done. You know, in my career I was traded
to Tampa Bay, and I ended up loving it in Tampa Bay, and I signed with Chicago,
ended up loving it there. I'm looking forward to having that same type of
experience here in New York.
Q. What if the Jets arrange a situation where you're splitting the carries
with Leon Washington who's a pretty talented young guy? Would you be happy in a
THOMAS JONES: You know what, that's up to the coaches. I'm here to play
football and make plays. That's why I signed here is to help the offense be as
productive as possible, like I said, on the field and off the field. The coaches
make all those decisions. Leon Washington is a great back. I watched him last
year, and he made some great plays for the Jets, helped them get to the
playoffs. I have a lot of respect for him and all the other running backs out
there. I'm one of the guys on the team that just wants to provide leadership and
make plays and help us win.
Q. When you were watching the film on the Jets last year, what was your
take on their offensive line, particularly Mangold and Ferguson?
THOMAS JONES: I think their offensive line played really well. I know when we
played them last year, they ran pretty well against us. We have a really good
defense, and they came out and kind of hit us in the mouth a little bit early in
the game and had some big runs. So obviously their offensive line anytime
you make it to the playoffs you're doing something right, offensively and
defensively and special teams. So I have a lot of confidence in their offensive
line and just their offense, period.
Q. Just kind of on the same vein, what's it like for you to come in here
and know you're going to play with a quarterback like Chad Pennington? What can
he do for you to help you out, and are you looking forward to that?
THOMAS JONES: Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to that. I came out with
Chad. We worked out together before the draft. I know him well. He's a great
player, he's a resilient guy. He was the Comeback Player of the Year last year
which says a lot about his character. He's a smart guy. He can definitely put
you in positive positions on offense. That's stuff I'm looking forward to. I'm
looking forward to working with these guys on offense.
Q. Would the Bears have made the Super Bowl without you?
THOMAS JONES: The Bears have great players on their offense and defense, so I
was just one of the players on the team that contributed to them going to the
Super Bowl, and that's just my approach on it. There's a game on the field and
it's not just one guy out there. Everyone on our offense and everyone on our
defense and everyone on special teams, they're the reason why we made it to the