A miked-up Jerry Glanville once famously stated that NFL stands for Not For Long. And that phrase also describes Brandon Moore's experience with free agency.
But Moore took this whole episode of being released, entering "the market" however briefly, and then returning to the Jets in a span of three days just like your typical unflappable offensive lineman.
"I honestly didn't know if I'd be back," Moore said on a conference call with Jets reporters this afternoon after it was announced that he's re-signed with the Green & White to keep their O-line intact heading into the Rex Ryan era. "I didn't really think so. I know the invitation was always open, it wasn't ended on bad terms. But on a scale, I'd have to say pretty slim. I didn't think it would work out where I would be back."
Despite all that, he's glad to be back. He said being released and hearing reports that the Jets were interested in Pittsburgh G Chris Kemoeatu before he re-signed with the Steelers didn't get him worked up.
"I wasn't bitter," he said. "I've played long enough. I've seen people come and go. I understand the business side of it. I wasn't upset. I felt comfortable in knowing I could get a job somewhere. I knew I was still going into the prime of my career. I felt good about my play.
"I had mixed feelings, of course, being let go by a team I've invested a lot into. But I really wasn't upset about it. It didn't end on bad terms. It was just the business side of it."
GM Mike Tannenbaum sounded that same theme Friday night during his and Ryan's conference call to announce the Bart Scott signing.
"When things start with free agency, obviously players have earned the right to explore their options," Mike T said. "In Brandon's situation, we let him go and he had a right to look. Rex and I are going to do the same for the Jets. But if this goes where it's heading it'll work out great for Brandon and it'll work out great for us."
Moore said even though he received some feelers during his 24 hours or so of free agency, he said he's happy to be sticking around the area. His family didn't want to uproot and move to a new city and neither did he — heck, he's started 76 consecutive games, including playoffs, at right guard for the Jets, the longest current streak on the team. Talk about building a home.
And he is really looking forward to the continuity of playing on the same line in the 2009 season opener that he did to close '08.
"I never went into the following season with the whole line that started 16 games and the same guys start the next season," he said, and that's true — at least one O-line starting member was new each year since he joined the Jets in 2002.
"To be able to walk into the room with the right tackle I played with for 16 games, the guy next to me I played next to for three seasons — that stuff goes a long way when it gets down to playing football. I'm really excited about it. It's a good group of guys. I like the guys in the room. I'm excited about this group."
The next season hasn't begun yet, so the line could yet be shaken up, but assuming D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Moore and Damien Woody line up for the '09 opener, it will be a once-in-a-decade occurrence for the Jets. Only once in the early Nineties and once early in this decade has the Jets' starting O-line returned intact:
The 2008 line helped produce the ninth-ranked rushing offense in the NFL and the best per-carry average (4.7 yards) in franchise history and for an offense that Ryan has said is going to run the ball even more this season.
That continuity was almost ended before it was started. But Moore, after ever so gently dipping his toe in the free agency waters, is back. And as No. 65 said, no harm, no foul: "At the end of the day I ended up with the team I wanted to be with."