NY Jets Owner Woody Johnson Interview Transcript 8/1/11

On Monday New York Jets owner Woody Johnson addressed the media.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

On why he is smiling…

I’m just happy. Happy to see our guys here. I welcome them all back. Most of them are in pretty good shape, which is good. It’s great to be back to football.

On how he felt the Jets fared in free agency…

I think great. We would like to have signed up for this in March, what the outcome was. Nobody knew we could do it. Mike (Tannenbaum) and his department did an incredible job. A lot of late nights and no sleep and all this, but this is what he lives for. He did an excellent job getting our players back, getting receivers. Of course we got Plaxico Burress, which is an exciting addition to our team. I think he’ll make Santonio (Holmes) better, he’ll make them all better.

On whether he believes his meeting with Tannenbaum and Burress in 2009 had an impact on Burress’ decision…

I don’t know. You’d have to ask Plaxico about that. I remember him walking down a hall in Hempstead, he was going down to see (Bill) Parcells. (Prior to Burress being drafted) we had him in for a day, to take a look at him, and how impressed I was then, with who he was and what he looked like in his college career. Amazing guy. We probably would’ve drafted him. He went before we had a chance. He went at number eight or nine, right in there. Just a remarkable athlete and we just couldn’t be happier to have him.

On whether he is happy with Jets free agent signings, despite not signing CB Nnamdi Asomugha…

I’m delighted the way it actually worked out, because we got Eric Smith back, we got Plax. We got a lot of good players, a lot of our players. I’m happy. And we’re not done.

On what else the Jets may do…

You know Mike (Tannenbaum). He’s always working. He’s always going to be looking for talent to the extent where we have any money left, and we’re still counting to see if we’ve got anything. We’re trying to improve the team. That’s our job. We want to go all the way.

On whether he would agree with Rex Ryan’s statement that this is the best team they’ve had in Ryan’s three seasons…

I would never disagree with Rex, number one. I think, if you take a look overall. We lost Brad (Smith), which made a lot of people unhappy, because Brad was a great member of the team. But I’m happy for him, because I think he’s got something that he wants. He wants a bigger role, and I think that’s what he was promised. So, I’m happy for him, because this is what he was looking for, but yes, I think the team is better.

On whether he is disappointed the Jets could not sign Asomugha…

I’ll tell you I’m not disappointed. I’m really not disappointed, because I think if you take a look at what we got, I’m happy. Look at what Cro (CB Antonio Cromartie) did his first four games and then we held our own. Cro is delighted to be back here, I’ve never seen a happier guy, with no sleep last night. I think where we ended up is fabulous, and we’re going to be good.

On whether it is an awkward situation because the Jets pursued Asomugha…

That hasn’t even come up. I didn’t detect any feelings of being distraught or anything else. He was just so happy to be here, and we reciprocated. We are very happy he’s here, because we know how good he is now and how good he will be.

On the decision to sign Burress…

Well, we had a meeting about two years ago, before he was sentenced or anything else. We were real interested in him then, during that period of time, because we didn’t know what the outcome of the court system was or anything else. So, we talked to him. We’ve known him for a long time. I met him during that draft when Parcells was our general manager, so that year I got a chance to meet him. Just being honest, we might have drafted him, he went, I think, number eight in the draft that year. I’ve always been impressed with him.

On whether he believes the Jets big splashes in free agency make them the AFC’s version of the “Dream Team”…

I don’t know. We’re not doing it to make a splash really, we’re doing it to improve the team. So, we’re looking for talent and trying to structure that talent to help us win. If it creates a splash, so be it, but that’s not our intent, for sure.

On why the Jets signed Burress instead of WR Braylon Edwards…

It’s a question of value. This is a very, very difficult year because we’re in a transition between one set of rules and a new set of rules. You have to be half accountant, half risk analyst, and half talent evaluator, but the other parts come in, so we didn’t have a lot of surplus cash. So, this is the perfect fit for us, with Plax.

On whether one of the side benefits of signing Burress was to take away a player the Giants wanted…

That really has absolutely nothing to do with it. We’re not looking at the Giants or anybody else, any of the other teams who were interested in him. We’re sort of saying, he’s a guy that’s played in New York, so he’s going to be a good balance for Santonio (Holmes) out there, and you’re going to have to focus on him, as well.

On how the Jets decided to approach players about restructuring their contacts…

You’d have to ask Mike (Tannenbaum) on all that, but I can say that I’m very proud of this team, the people who were asked to participate in that. Really, I’ve never seen anything like it, what these gentlemen did, and how proud I am they did it for this team. And that’s only because of the team that they’re on and the feeling that they have for each other, that they were willing to do this. So, it was pretty spectacular.

On whether he was physically in the building during the past week of free agency..

Well, for a lot of it I wasn’t. I was physically on the phone, so I felt like I was here all hours of the day and night, but Mike (Tannenbaum) and his staff were here 24 hours for a week or two doing this.

On what the effort to sign Cromartie was like, after losing out on Asomugha…

It was intense, but we didn’t turn from one to the other. We were always talking to him. He knew that we wanted him. There was no question.

On how Cromartie could know the Jets wanted him when the Jets were pursuing Asomugha…

Because, the nature of football, is you never know. We want him, it’s a question of what happens.

On whether anything less than a Super Bowl would be a disappointment…

I think the way I would answer that is, our goal is the Super Bowl, but I would never be disappointed with the team we had last year, for example. Our goal last year was to win the Super Bowl. I’m certainly not disappointed. I take a look at that team, I’m very proud of the way they handled it, and the way they played those last games. It was amazing. Every one of those guys put everything they had into it, I’m convinced. And that’s all you can ask. It’s just a sense of great pride, really.

What do you think about Woody’s comments Jets fans? Talk about them in the JetNation forums.

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