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Jenkins Retires After 10 Seasons in NFL

By: Jenny Vrentas

The Star-Ledger

 

Kris Jenkins once had plans to attempt an unlikely comeback from a second consecutive anterior cruciate ligament tear, at age 31.

But the former Jets nose tackle announced today on his Facebook page that he has decided to retire after a 10-year NFL career, during which he was dominant when healthy but also oft-injured.

“Wanted to let you all know that I have loved the support and respect that you all have given me throughout my career,“ Jenkins wrote. ”But it is time for the torch to be passed to the younger players.

“I am going to hang up the cleats! The mind is always willing to play but my body deserves the rest. Thank you for the opportunites (sic) to play Carolina and New York.”

Jenkins, a three-time All-Pro player, was released by the Jets before the league year ended in March, a move which helped clear cap space. Each of his past two seasons were cut short when he tore the left ACL in his knee, twice in 11 months.

Traded to the Jets in February 2008 from Carolina, Jenkins was a dominant force anchoring the team’s 3-4 defense that season, recording 50 tackles and earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. But injuries prevented him from contributing at full potential under coach Rex Ryan and Ryan’s aggressive defensive scheme.

Jenkins tore his left ACL for the first time in October 2009, Ryan’s first season with the Jets. After rehabbing his way back, and declining retirement last summer, Jenkins tore the same ligament again in the season opener last September.

He began training for a second comeback, working at TEST Sports Clubs in Martinsville earlier this year. He called the grueling rehabilitation process a “celebration of my life” and a push to leave on his own terms — a journey which officially ended with his retirement announcement yesterday.

Injuries were a recurring theme during the 6-4, 360-pound tackle’s career. A second-round pick by the Panthers in 2001, Jenkins became a key part of a talented defensive line and helped the team reach Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Patriots in his third season.

But he played only four games in 2004, after sustaining a shoulder injury, and one game in 2005, when he tore his right ACL.

Jenkins’ younger brother, Cullen Jenkins, earned a Super Bowl ring with the Packers in February and will be a coveted free agent when the NFL returns to business. Meanwhile, older brother Kris, who is married and has three sons, will move on to the next phase of his life.

“Defensive line doesn’t get the credit or the glory everybody else does, but when I step on the field, the cats that I line up against know that I’m one of the toughest SOBs on the field,” Jenkins said during an interview in February.

“That’s always been the thing that has been the most fulfilling for me in football. I’ve won battles, I’ve lost some. Fortunately, I’ve won a lot more than I’ve lost.”

Publish Date : 07-20-2011
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