Background and college
Born August 3, 1979 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Jenkins played at Belleville High School under Bob LaPointe. He then played college football at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he started 27 of 41 games. He made the second team All-ACC during his senior season. He finished with 9.5 sacks and 154 tackles.
Before the Jets
Jenkins was selected in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by Carolina. Jenkins finished the 2002 season with 60 tackles and 7 sacks, en route to an alternate appearance on the NFC's Pro Bowl team, where he replaced an injured Warren Sapp. The following season, he helped the Panthers on their way to Super Bowl XXXVIII. In one game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jenkins blocked two kicks: a field goal attempt by Martin Gramatica, and an extra point attempt that would have won the game. Jenkins' second block marked the first time that an extra point was blocked to send a game into overtime (Carolina later won the game). Jenkins was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl start, and joined Rucker as half of the NFC's defensive front line.
However, the 2004 season saw Jenkins suffer a shoulder injury in the second game against Kansas City, and he spent the latter half of the season on injured reserve. His injury misfortunes continued during the first game of the 2005 season when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and was once again placed on injured reserve.
As a Jet
On February 29, 2008, the Panthers traded Jenkins to the Jets for third- and fifth-round draft picks in the 2008 NFL Draft. Jenkins turned out to be an instant success with the Jets, and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl, and his first as a Jet.
Jenkins is the brother of current Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.