After the Jets completed their Friday practice, veteran defensive end Shaun Ellis spoke with the media for the first time since his arrest for possession of marijuana was made public.
"It's a situation now that I really can't elaborate on," he told a group of reporters surrounding his locker. "It's a situation that happened — something that I have to grow from and learn from."
Ellis, a defensive co-captain who leads the Jets with seven sacks, will make his 13th start of the season Sunday in San Francisco.
"It hasn't been a distraction. It's been a disappointment," he said. "It's something you have to learn from and move forward."
Electing to keep private the conversations he had with Jets head coach Eric Mangini and his teammates, Ellis was predictably subdued. He issued a public apology to his family, the fans and the organization in a released statement and left with his teammates for northern California late this afternoon.
"I think Shaun is a professional," said defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. "He understands what he needs to do to get ready to play. I think he's very capable of staying focused and dealing with getting ready for the 49ers."
The Jets, who disciplined Ellis internally, stated that the legal process will run its course and the league will handle the matter. He could play a vital role Sunday as the Jets look to return to their winning ways against a 49ers team that has allowed 43 sacks.
"They've reduced their sacks by quite a bit," Sutton said. " I think that's a reflection of the quarterback [Shaun Hill], who has some mobility, obviously, and he's doing a good job of delivering the ball on time, not holding the ball and not stressing the protection."
The Jets didn't stress after losing inside linebacker David Harris' services. Harris suffered a groin injury in Week 8 against the Chiefs and has missed the Green & White's past five games. But veteran David Bowens has played well in his place and Harris could return to action Sunday.
"We are obviously looking forward to getting David back. He's a good football player who's having a very good year, so I think that will be a positive thing," Sutton said. "Something that could have been negative, I think we ended up with a real positive outlook from that experience."
After the Jets allowed 487 yards to the Broncos, Sutton said this is a "big game" for the defense to get back to playing up to their standards.
"I think we've had a really good week of practice," he said. "All of us realize that we didn't perform to the level that we think we're capable of."