Coles is the second wide receiver in 15 years to be voted team MVP
Just one day after kickoff returner Justin Miller was selected to his first career Pro Bowl, the Jets announced their annual awards. Laveranues Coles was voted Team MVP by his teammates and the wide receiver feels that there is no honor he would rather have – including a trip to the Pro Bowl.
"You get kind of excited."Coles said after learning he won the MVP award. "You don't want to stand up and clap for yourself, but it's a great feeling. I'm very pleased that they feel that way about me."
Coles became just the second wide receiver in 15 years to win the award, joining Santana Moss who captured the title in 2003. Coles, a seventh-year veteran, leads the team in receptions (87), receiving yards (1,065), and touchdown catches (six).
"These are the guys in my locker room that voted for me; these are the guys that are around me everyday that I get an opportunity to spend time with and have a relationship with away from football," Coles said. "That's more important to me than any Pro Bowl I could ever make. It just says that these guys really care about me and what I mean to this team."
"To me, that's a very significant and well-deserved award," added head coach Eric Mangini of his top receiver. "He has been outstanding not just in his production, but all of the other things that he brings to the table. I think that's a great award."
One reason why his teammates and coaches respect Coles so much is because of the toughness he consistently displays.
"With my past and everything I've been through in my life, I know that certain things that I have to do deal with are just mental," he said. "If you've been through so much, then there is really nothing much that can bother you. Pain is just something that you deal with, and at the end of the day it will go way eventually.
"There is a difference between being hurt and being injured," Coles explained. "You have to know the difference between the two."
In Week Four, Coles absorbed a shattering hit on the last play against the Colts. One week later, he started in his 85th straight game (a streak that has now reached 94). Just last week in the fourth quarter against the Vikings, Coles took a vicious shot to the back of the ribs and rolled in agony until trainer John Mellody rushed out for assistance. Coles always returns to action.
"Laveranues, he's so tough; it doesn't matter what gets hit," Mangini said of Coles. "He pops up, moves on. He's tough. He's the example for toughness."
While every follower of the Green and White knows Coles' value, he will soon have another opportunity to show a whole nation of viewers why he was voted Team MVP. The Jets travel to Miami for ESPN's Monday Night Football in a few days and Coles has been sensational against the Dolphins throughout his career. Back in 2000, Coles - a third round rookie from Florida State - registered his first career touchdown during the "Monday Night Miracle." Coles' 30-yard scoring catch in the fourth quarter sparked the greatest comeback in franchise history.
"That was one of my most memorable games," Coles said. "I think that's what New York and Miami is about. We're very competitive teams, and when we play each other it's exciting."
Coles' career numbers against the Dolphins are dazzling. In 11 meetings with the Dolphins, he has scored nine touchdowns and averaged 15.1 yards on his 37 receptions. Earlier this season, Coles went off with a two touchdown, 106-yard performance as the Jets captured the October battle at the Meadowlands.
On Wednesday, Coles did admit to a history between him and the Dolphins that may fuel his fire on gamedays.
"I really had a grudge against Miami before I was drafted into the league at the Senior Bowl," he recalled. "Basically I was trying to get drafted at the time and I asked the guys who were there to let me take the test they had at the Senior Bowl, and they told me no. The first thing that popped in my head is 'You're going to regret treating me this way.'"
But the Jets' 2006 Team MVP likes to have success against all opponents. Coles, who has collected four 100-yard games this season and is second in the NFL with 28 third-down receptions, needs just seven receptions to overtake Al Toon (93) for most receptions by a Jet in a season.
"It is what it is and it has nothing to do with that," said Coles of Senior Bowl experience. "I go out and try to have success against everybody, but it just so happens that I had quite a bit of success against those guys."
Just because Justin Miller is officially a Pro Bowler, it doesn't mean his growth as a professional is done. The league leader in yards per kickoff return is still developing as a cornerback.
"He needs to be consistent there," Mangini said of Miller. "We talked quite a bit about a penalty he had this weekend, which was an emotional penalty, but you can't have those things. You can't respond to something that makes you feel good for two seconds but hurts the group."
Even though he is in his second professional season, Miller is the youngest member of the Jets at age 22. With such raw talent and energy, Miller is well on his way to a successful career.
"I think that Justin is working at it and he's made a lot of strides and he'll continue to make strides," Mangini said of Miller. "As long as you care and you work at it and you make progress, then - with his ability level - it will be all uphill, all positive."
Considering half of Miller's duties rely on his ability to spark the offense with excitement, energy and all-out aggressiveness, he sometimes finds it difficult to curb his emotions as a defensive back. Miller feels it's just part of the game and he has been adjusting.
"You get excited sometimes, but the main thing is you have to concentrate and play," said the former Clemson Tiger. "It's kind of hard; you just have to go out there and stay focused even though you're revved up. You have to balance it out; you can't let it take over."
Wednesday Injury Report Jets Questionable: FB B.J. Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveranues Coles (back), RB Cedric Houston (calf), LB Anthony Schlegel (illness) & Eric Smith (foot)
Probable: *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *LB Matt Chatham (foot), *C Nick Mangold (hip), *WR Justin McCareins (foot), *OL Brandon Moore (back), *DL Rashad Moore (hand), *QB Chad Pennington (calf), *DE Bryan Thomas (shoulder), *S Jamie Thompson (ankle) & *WR Wallace Wright (thigh)
Dolphins Doubtful: WR Marty Booker (ankle) & DT Dan Wilkinson (calf)
Questionable: CB Will Allen (groin/quad) & RB Ronnie Brown (hand)
Probable: QB Joey Harrington (ankle) & DT Keith Traylor (knee)
*Denotes players who participated in practice