"I won, I won, I won," Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins exclaimed in his own unique way as he was the first to stroll into the check-in area of Jets training camp at SUNY Cortland. "Big Jenk" was the winner of this offseason's weight loss competition among himself, tackle Damien Woody and head coach Rex Ryan.
Starting May 10, Ryan challenged his two biggest men in the trenches to a competition that they informally called "The Biggest Winner," designed to get himself and both players to healthier, more effective weights.
It was revealed today after Friday's weigh-in that Jenkins lost 33.6 pounds, which dropped him to 359, while Woody lost 26.2 pounds to bring him down to 340. Ryan shed 20 pounds (and 55 total including before the competition started), which brought him to 291.
Always one to steal the show, Jenkins was thrilled with his victory, but was happy with the progress all three made, and made sure to ham it up with Woody when he made his way to the dormitory, saying, "It was all a friendly competition, baby. I wanted you to look as pretty as me so I'm proud of you!"
Woody wished that he had won the competition, but he knows that regardless, it was a positive experience for all three Jets. Both realized that to continue to perform at a high level, they needed to get to work on lowering their weight.
"At the end of the day it's a win-win for everybody," Woody said. "When Rex issued this challenge, the whole goal was to make us both better and I think we're both better for this challenge and the way we feel. It's going to be really interesting to see how everything is going to play out in training camp but I feel great and I know Jenks feels really good, too."
After some lighthearted jokes and laughter, Jenkins and Woody became serious about what the competition meant to them and how that focus can affect the team. Jenkins missed the second half of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which means he had even more work to do in returning his body to its best possible condition. That task took an extra level of commitment and motivation this offseason.
"Once you get to a certain point," Jenkins said, "you have to change the way that you focus and that was the biggest thing that I had to do this offseason. And with everything that I did, it was taking care of myself."
Jenkins is not only intent on tending to his body but also on assisting those in the community who are underprivileged. The winner of the competition got to make a contribution to his favorite charity, and Jenkins chose Life Pieces to Masterpieces, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation that enables driven inner-city youth to use art to escape potentially dangerous surroundings.
"I've always been a supporter of that organization and a supporter of kids who want to make their lives better," Jenkins said.
Here at SUNY Cortland, Jenkins and Woody are ready to make themselves and the team better. Despite their ribbing, the big men agreed on one thing for this Jets team. Jenkins said that getting a ring is the only thing that would make the season a success.
Woody had even stronger words about the upcoming campaign. He gave this season a nickname.
"Forget 'The Decision,' " he said. "We have 'The Journey' going on.
"Everyone knows what the expectations are," Woody continued. "It's all about the Super Bowl. It's the Super Bowl or nothing. That's our whole deal right now. We feel we have the parts in place to get it done. Now it's time to put it together and time to stop talking about it and go do it."
The pervasive attitude on this team is that the pieces are in place on paper and the offseason work has been done. Ryan reiterated that sentiment this evening.
"We have one goal as an organization and we've said it from day one. It was the same goal last year, it's to win a Super Bowl," he said. "That's the only focus we have."