McKnight In Leaner Armor

A little more than a month after showing up to rookie camp out of shape, fourth round pick Joe McKnight said that he has improved his fitness and is closing in on the "final gear."

Florham Park, NJ - After reporting to rookie mini-camp over a month ago out of shape, Jets' fourth round pick Joe McKnight has shown a noticeably leaner and physically more ready self over the past two OTA sessions. McKnight, a former star at USC, was selected by the Jets in the fourth round and is seen by many as the heir apparent to the recently departed Leon Washington.

"People made it seem like this sort of big deal, like I was really, really out of shape or something," McKnight told "Yeah, I showed up out of shape, but it wasn't like people were saying. And I'm not that way now."

During rookie camp, McKnight was unable to complete drills and physically look spent, something the running back has vowed to never let happen again. True to his word, McKnight never looked gassed during Thursday's OTA. He was always strong in finishing his runs during drills and was never looking for a water bottle, even as the temperature reached the mid-to-upper 80's.

McKnight said that after his brutal rookie camp experience, he went back to a training regimen similar to the one he was on before the combine. He lost the excess weight and got his cardio endurance back up, he says.

"I just went home and busted my tail [sic]," McKnight said.

McKnight acknowledged that there is still work to be done to get fully into the kind of shape that he wants to be in come the start of camp this summer.

"I ain't in no final gear yet," McKnight said. "But I'm in shape now."

As far as acclimating to the team and the quality of play, McKnight told that he is doing well in grasping the playbook but he is still learning the different terminology. He also said that the caliber of talent at USC, often compared favorably to the NFL, has helped the transition. And the searing heat of Jersey in June hasn't affected him.

"The kind of heat I'm used to, you can't even breath in it," McKnight, a native of Louisiana said. "This ain't so bad."

Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at and followed at

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