Last two preseason games key for Haynes

For defensive end Michael Haynes, the time is now.

Drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 14th overall pick of the 2003 NFL draft, Haynes' career never quite materialized as the team had envisioned. He is hoping New York is the launching pad for his resurrection.

After two non-spectacular seasons in Chicago, Haynes was released in training camp last summer. He eventually signed with the New Orleans Saints. However, a back injury landed him on the sidelines, and that eventually led to surgery and his release.

Prior to last season's back injury, Haynes did not have a lengthy medical history. In fact, he played two full seasons in Chicago and was known for his durability during his collegiate days at Penn State.

"I never had injuries." Haynes said after practice Wednesday. "It's one of those things where if you're in the league long enough, something will happen. For me it was the back. The funny thing is, I haven't had any problems with it this whole offseason. As far as I'm concerned, I'm one-hundred percent."

Playing a crowded position, Haynes is on the bubble for a roster spot.

The Jets are virtually set with their two starting defensive ends of Shaun Ellis and Kenyon Coleman. Both Bobby Hamilton and Eric Hicks have had solid camps and look like strong candidates to make the team. Kimo von Oelhoffen and Mike DeVito are also in the mix.

The biggest obstacle Haynes faces is learning and adapting to Eric Mangini's 3-4 defensive system, a system he has never played in before.

"The technique, the terminology is really, really different" Haynes said. "I can't stress how different it is from the 4-3. But, I feel that I have done a good job of getting used to the system. I know all the terms, I know what to do. I really don't have any mental errors. I feel that the off-season, being here for the OTA's and minicamps, really helped me. I know exactly what's going on."

So far, the reviews have been positive. Haynes has been productive throughout camp and has seen his reps increase. Barring injury, there is no question that he has the physical tools to play 3-4 end.

The bigger question is whether or not he has grasped the system quickly enough to earn himself a job.

With just two preseason games remaining, he will need some quality reps to display just how far he has progressed.

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