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Offline Heatherthepackgirl  
#1 Posted : Monday, November 3, 2008 2:36:36 PM(UTC)
Rank: Registered

Joined: 10/22/2006(UTC)
Applause Received: 1
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. 3 days ago

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Growing up, Leon Washington was always told he wasn't big enough.

Too small to play with the older kids. Too small to be any good at football. Too small to make it in the NFL.

"I just never got down on myself," the New York Jets' 5-foot-8 do-it-all running back said Thursday.

And, boy, are the Jets happy about that. A special teams captain in his third season, Washington is too quick and elusive to be tackled by any doubts.

"When you're a smart guy and you're a small guy, your heart doesn't pump Kool-Aid," Washington said, flexing his bulky biceps. "It can't pump Kool-Aid. That's one thing my dad always told me, that having heart can overcome a lot of things."

So can blazing speed. Washington put on a clinic in versatility last weekend, piling up 274 all-purpose yards while having a hand in all four touchdowns in the Jets' 28-24 win over Kansas City.

Brett Favre said he has never played with someone so dangerous in so many ways.

"I don't know that anyone would step into an offense and be as productive after returning kicks the way he does," Favre said. "He's dynamic. He's very smart. Versatile is an understatement with him. He's quick as a cat. He's just got great hands. I could go on and on."

Washington, who set a team record with three kickoff returns for touchdowns last season, ranks third in the NFL with 27.6 yards per kickoff return, and fifth with 13 yards per punt return. He also has 155 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and 22 catches for 153 yards and a score.

Last Sunday, the fan favorite had an 18-yard catch-and-run for a score, a 60-yard touchdown run, took a short pass on third-and-8 and got a first down that led to a TD two plays later, and returned a punt 37 yards to help set up the go-ahead touchdown.

"It kind of took me back to high school, the last time I had a chance to make a lot of plays like that in different phases of the game," said Washington, a fourth-round pick in 2006. "I just love playing football, love making plays and if I can help this team win, I'm down for it. Whenever I get the ball, I'm appreciative."

And so are his teammates sometimes a little too much.

"You get caught looking at him and you're like, 'Oh, I've got to keep blocking,'" wide receiver Chansi Stuckey said with a laugh.

Veteran fullback Tony Richardson compared Washington to former Chiefs teammate Dante Hall, a college running back who was converted into a wide receiver and Pro Bowl kick returner.

"You can put Leon in multiple positions and multiple situations," Richardson said. "To me, he's the ultimate pro."

As a rookie, Washington got to know his way around the practice field, taking countless penalty laps for mistakes on returns. He showed significant improvement last season and then worked all offseason with new special teams coordinator Kevin O'Dea, who spent the previous two years with Chicago and All-Pro returner Devin Hester.

"We caught a lot of balls in the offseason," Washington said. "That's what we did, so I'm feeling comfortable fielding the ball and making plays."

Favre said the only thing Washington can't do is block New England linebacker Adalius Thomas, whose sack of the quarterback with little Leon sandwiched between them in Week 2 was a humorous hit on the highlight films.

"Yeah, that's probably the only thing I need to improve on, blocking a 300-pound guy," Washington said, smiling. "That was pretty bad. I think they had it in the newspaper the next day, so I had to deal with that. We'll get better at that."

Improving has been a steady theme for Washington since those days growing up in Jacksonville, Fla., when he was several inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than most kids his age.

"I just tried to make everybody miss," he said.

Washington grew a little and filled out a bit by the time he got to Florida State, where he was part of a crowded backfield that included current NFL players Lorenzo Booker and Greg Jones. Washington stayed on the field by carving a niche on special teams.

"It was something I enjoyed doing and it gave me an opportunity to make plays to help the team win," he said. "I think that in the NFL has helped me out, too."

He also showed the ability to shake off adversity, suffering shoulder injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons. The first cost him four games when his shoulder was dislocated on a hit by current Jets teammate Wallace Wright on a punt return in the season opener against North Carolina.

"I nicked him up a little bit," Wright said with a bashful grin. "That was years ago. Everything's good now."

Especially when Washington's got his legs moving, leaving anyone trying to stop him far behind.

"The guy," Favre said, "he's an unbelievable player."
Offline CDNRodgersfan  
#2 Posted : Monday, November 3, 2008 11:44:28 PM(UTC)
Rank: Registered

Joined: 8/16/2008(UTC)
Applause Received: 1
This little guy has been exciting to watch on the Jets as Brett. And that's saying something
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uffda udfa (10m) : This is the 6th straight game we've faced someone for the 2nd time. We learn.
uffda udfa (11m) : Aaron: I like our role. I like our chances. (said he relishes being an underdog)
uffda udfa (17m) : Aaron alludes to fake crowd noise at Georgia Dome for Sunday.
uffda udfa (1h) : So, to recap. Losing streak "just the way it is", winning streak "astronomical feat". #Balanced
uffda udfa (1h) : Ironically, he called the turn around "astronomical" not just the way it is in the NFL. #Don'tMissTheIrony
uffda udfa (1h) : Ted tells Demovsky the Packers weren't underachieving when 4-6. Just the way it is in the NFL????
Zero2Cool (4h) : Only time I recall getting annoyed is when they beat a single topic over and over and over.
Pack93z (5h) : Most yes... Heller seems to get it more so... diversity in his coverage... but seemingly can highlight the pressing issues properly.
Zero2Cool (5h) : I'm kind of in the boat that they all are babblying boonies.
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Zero2Cool (5h) : Jordy Nelson Named PFWA Comeback Player of the Year
Zero2Cool (7h) : Carter is predicitng the end is in ATL for Packers.
Porforis (7h) : Or I could just completely miss the part where that was Cris Carter.
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Zero2Cool (8h) : @criscarter80 :Every fairy tale comes to an end, and this is where the magic carpet ride stops in the ATL.
Zero2Cool (8h) : McCarthy: "JC Tretter actually had surgery Tuesday. He won't be available this week"
Zero2Cool (9h) : Crosby is fine now. Full Participant in practice Thursday
Porforis (9h) : What I'm more worried about at this point is WR injuries and Crosby being sick. Who'd be the backup if Crosby can't go?
Zero2Cool (9h) : We do have hope. Our secondary has improved. Also, he had to throw 80% to get 1 point up. That won't happen again.
Zero2Cool (9h) : I like to tease sometimes.
uffda udfa (10h) : Only 80%? :). We lost by one given that stat? Wish we had hope of tightening up.
uffda udfa (10h) : Z, u should tell everyone who Quintorris is. Quintorris Lopez Jones, better known as Julio.
Zero2Cool (10h) : Matt Ryan completed 80% of his passes against Packers in October.
uffda udfa (10h) : McGinn goes full on attack mode dismissing the notion of "Packers people". Harsh.
uffda udfa (10h) : McGinn says John Dorsey likely to be next Packers GM.
Zero2Cool (12h) : Boom! Davante Adams says last year's ankle injury "more difficult to deal with'
uffda udfa (16h) : Packers brass potentially leaving? Not worthy of discussing. Pressure Cooker? Never enough talk about them.
Zero2Cool (21h) : Put Quintorris in a pressure cooker.
uffda udfa (19-Jan) : Back to football: Julio says he's going to play Sunday. Did NOT say he wouldn't be limited in the game.
uffda udfa (19-Jan) : Anyone ever used their dishwasher to make their Thanksgiving turkey?
uffda udfa (19-Jan) : Favorite Ronnie Milsap song? Smokey Mountain Rain or Any Day Now?
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uffda udfa (19-Jan) : Yeah, Z. More pressure cooker talk and smoked turkeys.
Zero2Cool (19-Jan) : If this were a regular-season game, Nelson, Adams and Allison probably would not play, MM says.
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