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Clemens: 'I Feel Ready' to Step Up in Class


Clemens steps back for the throw

Since being drafted by the Jets in 2006, QB Kellen Clemens has gotten to study under two remarkable NFL quarterbacks.

"I've had a very unique opportunity to learn from two guys who are very, very good players and really aren't very similar in a lot of ways," Clemens said.

Chad Pennington, Clemens' first NFL mentor, won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award following Clemens' rookie season, after turning in an impressive performance following his second surgery on his throwing shoulder. He is also the most accurate QB in NFL history with a 66.0 percent completion rate (1,580-for-2,395) through Sunday's 22-for-30 performance for the Dolphins against the Jets.

"The biggest thing from Chad," Clemens said, "was that you're not going to find too many guys who represent their organization with more class than Chad Pennington. The level of preparation with Chad that he goes into each game with is another big thing."

More recently, Clemens worked this season under Favre, whose 169 regular-season wins as a starting QB are the most in league history.

"The way that he plays the game," he said of Favre, "with the passion and energy – it was infectious to all of us and it was good to learn from. It's definitely helped."

He anticipated waiting to see if Favre would return with the Jets for the 2009 season, but was surprised to find out that Eric Mangini, the coach who drafted him, departed from the team earlier this week.

It was reported Tuesday that Cleveland owner Randy Lerner will talk to Mangini about the Browns head-coaching vacancy after Romeo Crennel (Mangini's good friend and former Patriots coaching partner) was dismissed.

"There's a lot of memories and a lot of hard work," he said of Mangini. "I mean, he was grinding right alongside all of us when we were doing training camps and OTAs and all the off-season work. He put in a lot of hours. So there are emotions that definitely go into it.

"I wish him all the best in his endeavors."

Clemens said that he and his teammates will embrace their new coach and that he'll approach the coming months with the intensity of a player preparing to be the starter.

"I feel ready to become the player that I was drafted here to be," he said. "It's been a good opportunity for me this year to sit back and learn and we'll see how things shake out next year."

But he stopped short of making any predictions as to whether or not Favre will return for his 19th season.

"People have been guessing on Brett Favre's future for the last four or five years and have been wrong most of the time."

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