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So it Ain’t So: Shaun Ellis Signs with Patriots

The longest tenured Jet has found a landing spot and it’s not with Gang Green.

Shaun Ellis, entering his eleventh season in the league, (all with New York) turned down a one year contract offer from the New York Jets at the veteran’s minimum, instead electing to join the reveled New England Patriots for a whopping 4.5 million for 2011. As the longest tenured Jet, Ellis amassed 552 tackles, 72.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and an interception with the green and white. As the newest member of the squad from Foxboro, Ellis will play alongside Albert Hanesworth and Vince Wilfork in what is shaping up to be a menacing defensive front. The Jets loss is the Patriots gain as New England bolsters a pass rush that was non-existent for much of their 2010 campaign.

Jets coach Rex Ryan praised Ellis for his contributions while with Gang Green, but refused to wish the defensive lineman well with New York’s arch rivals. Bill Belichick was impressed with Ellis’ performance in last year’s divisional playoff round, a 28-21 Jets victory. Ellis collected five tackles, sacking quarterback Tom Brady twice en route to New York’s most emotional win of the season. The Jets faithful are likening Ellis’ departure from New York to New England to Johnny Damon’s decision to leave the Red Sox and sign on with the Yankees. As if this bitter rivalry could be any nastier, Ellis’ decision certainly adds more fuel to the fire. New York will look for major contributions from Muhammed Wilkerson, whom they selected 30th overall in the 2011 draft.

Ellis leaves big shoes to fill, and with a shortened offseason, Wilkerson will have to hit the ground running. A crash course in Rex Ryan’s exotic defensive schemes will help acclimate the rookie lineman, but General Manager Mike Tannenbaum will have to be active in finding depth at the defensive end
position. Meanwhile, Ellis will likely return to the New Meadowlands Stadium to a chorus of boos, as his former stomping grounds has transformed into enemy territory.

The Jets play host to the New England Patriots Week Five, Sunday October 5th, at 4:15PM.
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