Q. How important was it for you to have your contract done early?
BRYAN THOMAS: I'm actually very happy to get my deal done before training camp starts. I'll be able to go out there and contend for a position. I just want to thank the Jets, thank everybody else for giving me this opportunity for being out here.
As far as the contract and being ready, I'm happy.
COACH EDWARDS: I don't worry about players getting done, I really don't, that's not my concern. They let me kind of know where it's at. But I never have a concern about a player is not going to get done here. We're going to deal a fair hand. I think the people we deal with, obviously his agents, people that
So I think when you look at the big picture as a head coach, I never sit and worry, "Is this guy going to be in camp, not be in camp?" I just figure the guys we draft, they're all coming to camp. They're going to be here on time and they're going to be good players, they are going to be productive in what we do.
It's good to have
But for him, it's probably a load off his mind, the fact that it's done, he feels good about it. He has nothing to worry about, the money, the contract. All he has to do now is concentrate on how to line up and go play.
Q. How would you use
COACH EDWARDS: Well, obviously, we're going to use him as a rush. He's going to play the run. That's the one unique thing about Bryan, one of the things I liked about him. He was tough, he was not afraid to put his face what I call in the fan. In other words, when the run came around there, he wasn't like a guy, you know, getting out of the way of it. I mean, he stuck his face in there and was a good force against the run.
That's the first thing I look at when you get in because what happens in this league, you get a lot of guys with potential like Bryan, that have tremendous speed, have knocked the quarterback down their whole college career, and the first thing they want to do in pro football is get 20 sacks and go to the Pro Bowl.
That doesn't help you play defense. The only way you can sack the quarterback is you have to stop the run. If you don't have players that are willing to stop the run, play good run defense, my theory is they don't get to go on third down. I won't put them in there on third down. They won't get to rush the quarterback.
I always tell them, "If you play the run, you get to hit the quarterback on third down. If you don't play the run, you don't have to worry about sacking the quarterback, you're not going to be in the game anyway. I'm not going to let you sack the quarterback, you're going to be sitting on the sidelines."
That's my incentive to them. He does that naturally. He plays the run. I think the more he works with Ruben, John, the guys he's working with, he's going to be a tremendous player in our league.
It's going to be steps at a time. Like I said last year, the weight of
BRYAN THOMAS: Well, as far as OTA and mini camp, I felt okay. There's still going to be a lot for me to learn. I'm not going to say I (inaudible) because I messed up and I did good at certain times. Still, like I said, working with Coach Cottrell and Coach Carter, I feel like I have the best coaches working over me and players in front of me to learn things on how to play the game. So I feel working with them, watching the other players, that I'm in a good situation.
Q. What is it like for you to go from being a college player to a pro player, and signing for the money?
BRYAN THOMAS: Well, I mean, signing for money, I mean, doesn't make me more excited to play the game. I mean, I'm already excited to play the game. I want to play the game. I've been playing the game since I was younger for no money at all.
Signing doesn't make me "Well, okay, I love the game now." I've been loving the game all my life, so signing didn't make a difference.
COACH EDWARDS: Only thing signing will cost him tomorrow is he will have to know where Winchell's donuts are. I told him, when that sign says "hot," he needs to go there when that sign says "hot." I like my donuts hot. He's going to have to bring us donuts tomorrow. He'll be fine.
As long as you bring those donuts in, you're going to be okay (laughter).
Q. What if he brings one doughnut?
COACH EDWARDS: No, no, no. He's going to buy a couple dozen donuts (laughter).
NOTES: The Jets waived center Lance Clelland and tackle Jay Kulaga.
Both Clelland, a 6-6, 314-pound center from Northwestern and Kulaga, a 6-5, 300-pound tackle out of Illinois, signed with the team on April 26, 2002.