Robertson signs with Jets

A former University of Kentucky lineman is now officially an NFL player. The New York Jets reached an agreement in principle with first-round pick Dewayne Robertson on Saturday, July 19, the day before players reported for training camp.

Hadley Engelhard, who was serving as an agent for Robertson told the Associated Press the contract needed to be fine-tuned and probably would be signed Sunday morning, July 20. The Jets opened training camp Monday, earlier than most teams because they travel to Tokyo to play the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the American Bowl on Aug. 2.

Robertson did sign the contract shortly after reaching the agreement. Robertson was the third first-round pick to agree to a deal, following No. 1 overall selection Carson Palmer with Cincinnati and 27th overall pick Larry Johnson with Kansas City. Later Saturday, Green Bay signed linebacker Nick Barnett, the 29th pick.

The former Memphis high school standout was the fourth overall pick in the April draft. The 6-foot-1, 317-pound defensive tackle left Kentucky a year early to enter the draft. In his junior season, he accounted for 48 tackles and five sacks. Engelhard flew to New York earlier this week to complete negotiations in person. The agreement with Robertson was something the Jets franchise wanted to get done in the month of July.

Engelhard would not reveal terms of the deal until it was signed. The Jets franchise was pleased with having Robertson as its first pick in the draft and expect the former WIldcat to play and contribute in his rookie season. The Jets expect Robertson to play right away because of depth problems on the defensive line. Starter Josh Evans was suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy for a third time. Veteran tackle Chester McGlockton was signed in mid-July, but was not ready for the opening of training camp. Various reports said McGlockton was over his playing weight of 334 pounds and has not been part of a conditioning program since being released by Denver in February.

During the Jets, minicamp in May, Robertson caught the eye of New York head coach Herman Edwards. "You could see the power," Edwards told reporters. "He's a big man, thick and athletic, and he really loves football. ... When you draft a guy that high, you¹re getting the whole package."

Early negotiations between the Jets and Robertson crawled, but both sides wanted to avoid a holdout. Engelhard did not specify what the stumbling blocks were, saying only, "We got it done."

Robertson and current UK senior Jeremy Caudill came into the Wildcat football program at the same time as freshmen. Each started in the tough confines of the Southeastern Conference as true first-year players.

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