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Coles: 'I'm Committed to Playing Football'

It was the eve of a New Year on Monday and dozens of players were cleaning out their lockers and heading home for the off-season.

As hugs were exchanged and bags were packed and members of the media surrounded rookies and veterans alike, wide receiver Laveranues Coles, sidelined with injury for the last two weeks of the season, spoke of his future with the Green & White.

"You can't be angry, but at a certain point in your career, you want to know where you are going to be," said Coles, who was drafted by the Jets in 2000. "It's one of those things that I know I'm going to be playing longer than two years.

"I'm sure it will be a peaceful resolution and both sides will be happy with whatever happens."

Coles led the Jets offense with six touchdowns despite being limited to just 12 games this season.

Last season, he was voted MVP by his teammates after leading the receiving corps with 91 receptions and 1,098 yards. This year he added 55 receptions for 646 yards.

Coles' production was limited this season due to a string of injuries, including a concussion he received in Week 8 against the Bills at the Meadowlands. After being inactive for the overtime loss to Washington, Coles was blessed with a bye week before taking on the Steelers in mid-November.

On the Jets' second offensive play of the game, however, Coles was tripped up from behind after a 56-yard fleaflicker reception from Kellen Clemens and injured his right ankle, sidelining him for much of the rest of the game.

"I did everything I could, dealt with everything I had to deal with," he recalled, one day after the Jets beat the Kansas City Chiefs in their final game of the season.

The Jets flew down to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day three days after Coles injured his leg during their win over Pittsburgh. Coles was unable to heal quickly enough and was inactive for just the second time since his rookie year.

The Jets captain then returned for the next three games, during which he had 12 receptions, before he was put on injured reserve for the first time in his career just one day before taking on the Tennessee Titans.

"I think their thing is that because I'm getting older and my production has dropped, they are looking at me for the next two years. In my mind, I have more than two years left to play," said Coles. "My thing is knowing where I'm going to be the next time I sign a deal and knowing that my sacrificing and everything I have done has paid dividends. I'm committed to playing football and trying to be a part of something great."

But even through all of this contract and negotiation talk, Coles would like to remain a Jet. It was this organization that drafted him 78th overall in the 2000 draft and it was to here in Hempstead, N.Y., that Coles returned after two seasons in Washington in the middle of his career.

"It is one of those things that you let go and hope for the best," he said. "I can only do what I can do. Hopefully, they have enough respect for me, because I definitely have a lot of respect for this organization; that we can reach an agreement and come to a peaceful resolution. There won't be a problem.

"It's not anything that I want to linger the entire off-season," he added. "The sooner the better. The worse-case scenario is that I'm back up here next year playing under the same contract. That isn't too bad for me. It is one of those things that we hope we get done soon. I'm sure everybody wants to get this done and hopefully by the end of January we will come to some type of resolution."

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