It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and unfortunately, the New York Jets aren’t involved. In more unfortunate news, the Jets aren’t really ever involved. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some weird, tangential storyline we can’t dig up, because that, after all, is what Super Bowl media week is all about. So cover32 sat down with two former Jets, who are preparing to play in Super Bowl XLVIII this upcoming Sunday, Denver Broncos Joel Dreessen and Marquice Cole.
The Cole interview will post Friday. Dreessen spoke about his one year with the Jets and his emotional return to Giants Stadium after signing with the Houston Texans. Naturally, he added some clever, light-hearted jabs at Eric Mangini while he was at it:
Fred Katz: What was your time with the Jets like?
Joel Dreessen: I was kind of a wide-eyed rookie [in 2005]. It was quite the adjustment for sure. They had just come off a playoff loss to the Steelers so the expectations were really high. And, like I said, I was a wide-eyed rookie, just trying to learn the offense, trying to make the team. I actually made the team and things kind of unraveled. Chad Pennington got hurt again. And Jay Fiedler got hurt. Brooks Bollinger was our quarterback. I didn’t know any different. I just thought that’s how the NFL was. I ended up playing in 14 games as a rookie, mostly on special teams. It was fun. Then, Mangini game in. I went through training camp with them and then he released me at the end of training camp.
Katz: What was your reaction to getting released?
Dreessen: It was really frustrating, just because I thought I was getting better as a player. I thought I was improving. It was pretty hard to be let go, told you’re not good enough when I believed I was.
Katz: And I’m sure you had never been cut by a team at any other level before.
Dreessen: That was the first time I got cut. And then I went to Houston and was there for five years. And been [in Denver] for two.
Katz: You got cut by a Jets team with a losing record and now you’re playing for a Super Bowl. What’s that like?
Dreessen: It’s a blessing. It is. When you’re on a losing team, it’s tough. Yeah, getting cut was sort of tough. I spent the whole year out of football because I didn’t have any practice-squad eligibility. You’re just not knowing if your dream is drying up or if you’re going to get another opportunity. So to be here in the Super Bowl, it’s unreal, almost. It’s awesome.
Katz: When you signed with Houston, you went back to play your first game against the Jets. What was that like?
Dreessen: It was emotional. It really was. By the time we played the Jets, Mangini had moved on, was fired. That didn’t hurt my feelings at all. [laughs] But it was still emotional, obviously. Mike Westhoff, the special teams coach, was still there. [Mike] Tannenbaum was still the general manager. So I had something to prove.
We got our butts kicked when we played them in opening day in 2009. In 2010, we played up here, and I had like four catches for 100 yards. I scored a touchdown and I took the ball and spiked it on the Jets logo on the side of the stadium. That was kind of a liberating moment for me. We wound up losing the game. It was a good game, but it was always kind of emotional when I came back to play the Jets.
Fred Katz is the managing editor of all things Jets at cover32.com. His work has appeared on ESPN’s TrueHoop Network, Bleacher Report, and RotoWire. Follow him on Twitter at @FredKatz or contact him at Fred@cover32.com.