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Berry Thanks Rex, Jets for Second Chance

Prior to Aaron Berry's first practice with the New York Jets this afternoon, he said he knew two players on the team's roster.

Interestingly, the two players are wide receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"The two guys I know on this team are down with injuries," Berry said this afternoon. "So it's tough, man, but those guys are known as hard workers and tremendous talents, so I'm pretty sure they'll rehab as hard as they can. They'll be in high spirits and be ready to roll when the time comes."

For Berry, he is just grateful to be back on a football field.

After two solid seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2010 and 2011, Berry was arrested twice this past July, placing himself into a major bind.

Because of the two incidents with the law, the Lions released him and the NFL also took action, suspending the cornerback for the first three games of this season for violating the league's personal-conduct policy.

Uncertain on his future, Berry didn't lose hope. While he was somewhat concerned, he also remained confident an organization would give him a second opportunity.

"My coaches at Detroit, they told me I will get another chance with the talent that I have," he said. "Just don't mess up again, because you definitely won't get a third."

With Revis sidelined, the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan looked beyond Berry's past, signing the 24-year-old to a contract Monday.

"We feel that Aaron has a chance to be successful on and off the field here," Ryan said Monday. "If we didn't believe that, then we wouldn't bring him here. As far as him as a player, I feel his has the physical skill set we look for in our corners, and the No. 1 skill set would be man cover skills. We feel he has those."

He commends Ryan for providing him this opportunity.

"He pretty much told me he's a guy that gives people second chances," Berry said. "He feels everybody deserves a second chance. He just wants me to come in here, respect everyone in the locker room and just be disciplined."

While it was difficult being away from football for over two months, Berry said he did a lot of running to stay in shape. However, he expects it will take him a few weeks to get back into football shape.

"It's easy to just go out there and guard a man," he said, "but in order to understand the concepts with motion and everything, of course it will take a few weeks to get into that flow of everything. But maybe it'll come faster than that. So we'll see how it goes in practice."

Besides the connection with Revis and Holmes, Berry also shared a relationship with Jets quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. Before joining the Jets staff in 2009, Cavanaugh was the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.

"He was there when I played my freshman year, so we have a good relationship," Berry said. "Great guy. I'm blessed that he gave a good word on me."

Despite only having practiced one day with the Green & White, the 5'11" 180-pounder said everyone welcomed him with open arms. At the same time, his new teammates seem pleased to have his presence inside the locker room.

"We're excited," linebacker Aaron Maybin said. "Anytime that you bring in new talent and you have guys that can add dimensions to what you can do defensively, it's always a plus."

Berry will wear jersey No. 22 with the Green & White. He accepts that he can't change his past. But now having earned a chance, he aspires to take full advantage as well as gain back the respect and trust from those he let down.

"I love football, so you know it was hard being out of football and just watching, knowing what you can do and just sitting there watching it at home," he said. "But sometimes, that's a lesson you need in order for it to hit home. I took it, digested it and am now ready to move forward."

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