The New York Jets aren’t cheating on SUNY Cortland yet, but they do seem to have a wandering eye.
Gang Green announced last Friday that they were “reviewing training camp options,” as their initial contract with Cortland expired in 2013. The Jets supposedly had a soft agreement with Cortland that they would return for at least another two camps, though it’s apparently has soft as can be.
“SUNY Cortland’s been great to us,” general manager John Idzik said in a statement last week. “They’re extremely hospitable and the campus is a terrific setting for our team to bond and prepare for the upcoming season. At this time, we simply wish to perform our due diligence to ensure we have the best possible environment for our camp.”
That probably put a bit of a scare into not only the school’s higher-ups but also the community, as the Jets’ near-month-long presence provides a major economic boost and some flattering attention to the humble Upstate New York town.
Jets owner Woody Johnson, however, told ESPN New York Monday that the Jets will “probably be” back to SUNY Cortland this summer.
So they have a sort-of contract with the university that allows them to go elsewhere if they please, but they’re “probably” returning to Cortland despite doing their “due diligence” in looking around.
So what gives with the half measures?
The Jets’ press release announcing that they were reviewing their options seemed a bit odd, as there was really no reason for it. Once the Jets decide for sure they want to return to Cortland, they could announce it then. And if they decide to go another route, they could announce it accordingly.
Maybe the Jets dropped the announcement as a feeler to the fans. If enough fans voiced their opinion one way or another, maybe the Jets use the responses to put them in a particular direction. After all, fan involvement is a big part of the training camp experience.
Or, a cynic could guess that it’s Idzik and Johnson’s way of sending a message to Rex Ryan, letting the sixth-year head coach know that his second-year general manager wants a fair say in such decisions. The move from Hofstra to Cortland was Ryan’s idea, as Ryan wanted to put the team in an away-from-home bonding scenario, free from distractions.
Regardless, if the Jets return to Cortland, it will be business as usual. But if they end up somewhere else, their “sorta, kinda, maybe” approach to the thing now will make a bit more sense by then.
Nick St. Denis is the publisher of AFCEastDaily.com. The SUNY Plattsburgh journalism grad spent four years covering the Jets for Scout.com and five years covering preps and collegiate sports for newspapers in New York and Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at @NickStDenis.