Jets Sign UFA LB Kassell
The New York Jets announced today the signing of unrestricted free agent linebacker Brad Kassell. The announcement was made by Jetsâ€™ General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.Â
“Brad is an intelligent player who was able to use the opportunity of an undrafted free agent to become a starter in the NFL,” said Head Coach Eric Mangini. “He has made significant contributions on special teams and I look forward to his outstanding toughness and competitiveness helping this program.”
“Brad has demonstrated through his first four seasons in the NFL that he is a tough player who understands the commitment level needed to succeed at the pro level,” said Tannenbaum. “People who have coached him have spoken about his selfless demeanor and the team-first mentality he has and weâ€™ve put an emphasis on acquiring those types of talented players.”
“I was impressed with the direction of the Jets on my visit,” said Kassell. “They stressed that they are looking for highly-productive players that can be versatile and are willing to do whatever it takes to win football games. Iâ€™m excited to get involved in the off-season strength and conditioning program and get up to speed with the program they have underway here.”
Kassell, 27, is a 6-3, 242-pound product of the University of North Texas, who signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2002 with the Tennessee Titans. The native of Llano, TX has played in 56 career regular season games, making 32 starts, and has collected 259 career tackles (162 solo), along with 46 career special teams stops, nine passes defensed, seven tackles for losses, two fumble recoveries, and an interception returned for a touchdown during his four-year professional career.
As both a junior and senior at North Texas, Kassell was named as The Sun Belt Conferenceâ€™s Defensive Player of the Year. After signing as a free agent with the Titans, he spent the first seven games of his rookie season on the Titansâ€™ practice squad before being added to the active roster, where he played the final nine games of the 2002 regular season.
In 2003 he played in every game and started four contests at middle linebacker and totaled 41 tackles on defense and helped the Titans finish first in run defense in the NFL. He also finished second on the team with a career-high 23 special teams tackles. In 2004, Kassell played in 15 games and established career-highs in starts (14), tackles (128), passes defensed (six), tackles for losses (four) and quarterback pressures (two). He led or tied for the team-high in tackles in five contests after he took over the starting middle linebacker spot for the injured Rocky Calmus in second game of the season. He finished the season on January 2, 2005 by recording a career-high 19 tackles against the Detroit Lions.
Last season (2005), Kassell played in all 16 games and made 14 starts and registered 89 tackles, eight special teams tackles, two fumble recoveries, and recorded his first career interception in the Titansâ€™ second game of the season (9/8/05) when he intercepted an Anthony Wright pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 21-yards for a touchdown, marking his first professional touchdown.
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