Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pryce is right: Jets sign former Ravens DE

Trevor Pryce had flashbacks as soon as he got to the New York Jets’ facility.

There were familiar faces everywhere: Rex Ryan, his old defensive coordinator in Baltimore, former Ravens assistants Dennis Thurman and Mike Pettine, and linebacker and buddy Bart Scott.

“It was strange walking in at first and then I looked at the playbook,” Pryce said with a laugh. “All the plays are the same. Then, it was like stepping into a time capsule.”

The Jets signed Pryce on Thursday, reuniting the former Ravens defensive end with Ryan & Co. a day after Baltimore cut him. Pryce didn’t even need to tell his agent where he wanted to go.

"There are certain things you don’t have to say, like water’s good for you or don’t spend your money in one place,” he said. “There are certain (unspoken) truths in life and that’s one of them. He knew that if Rex called, that’s where I was going, no matter what, no matter who else called.”

Pryce will get a chance to make an immediate impact in New York’s game at Buffalo on Sunday primarily in passing situations.

“My daughter and niece are supposed to be going to Six Flags this weekend and I was really looking forward to going,” Pryce said, “but then Rex was like, ‘No, you’re playing against the Bills this Sunday.”’

He ranks fourth in sacks among active players with 90, but had no tackles this season. The 35-year-old Pryce has not started any of Baltimore’s three games, but is expected to help New York’s pass rush.

“The reason I wasn’t playing is we had certain pass-rush things and the defenses I’m supposed to be playing in and doing some damage in, we didn’t call them,” Pryce said. “We didn’t have a chance to call them. We couldn’t stop water from running, so I wasn’t going to play too much.”

Ryan said the team released defensive lineman Howard Green to make room for Pryce, but hoped to have Green back soon.

Pryce, a 14-year veteran, was a four-time Pro Bowl selection with Denver and played under Ryan in Baltimore for three of his four-plus seasons there.

He was waived Wednesday by Baltimore to make room for safety Ken Hamlin. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was likely the team would re-sign him, but the Jets pounced first.

“We saw it as an opportunity,” Ryan said. “As soon as we saw they released him, we started trying to get him here.”

Pryce said he was jogging with his wife when he got a call from his agent telling him he needed to head to New York.

“When Rex calls, you answer the call,” said Pryce, adding he has no hard feelings toward the Ravens. “I was supposed to go back next Monday, but this opportunity pops up and you’re like, ‘I don’t think I’m going back.”’

Scott, who left Baltimore to sign with the Jets as a free agent before last season, knows firsthand of the effect Ryan has on players.

“I guarantee you there’s probably people in the same spot now, jealous,” Scott said. “Trevor’s probably getting some texts like, ‘Hey, come get me, too.’ I guarantee that there’s at least 15 other players over there that are praying to God that they get released for a half-day so they can come over here, too.”

Pryce was given a tour of the Jets’ facility by Ryan, owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum during the media’s locker room availability. As he entered the press conference room, Pryce looked around and smiled.

“So, this is where Rex says all that stuff,” he said of his chatty coach. “I thought it was a bigger room than this.”

The Jets were in need of some depth on the line after losing Ropati Pitoitua and Kris Jenkins to season-ending injuries. The move to bring in Pryce might also allow the Jets to leave Vernon Gholston primarily at outside linebacker until Calvin Pace returns from a broken right foot suffered in the preseason.

“He’s an amazing player,” defensive end Mike DeVito said of Pryce. “To add this great a player to the team will only help us.”

Pryce already played against the Jets in Week 1, when the Ravens held on for a 10-9 win.

“What I know is that if not for a penalty on Braylon Edwards,” he said, “the Jets beat Baltimore here on Monday Night Football.”

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Pryce was a first-round pick of the Broncos out of Clemson in 1997 and was a part of two straight Super Bowl championship teams in 1998 and ’99. He was also selected to the Broncos’ 50th anniversary team last year.

Pryce signed with Baltimore in 2006, and had a career-high 13 sacks in his first season under Ryan, then the Ravens’ defensive coordinator.

“I’m humbled by it,” Pryce said, “that Rex still thinks highly enough of me to say, ‘No, you’re coming to play here.”’

Author: DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer

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