Ellis, a defensive end, told the Associated Press Thursday his request for a contract extension was rejected by the Jets, leading him to believe he might not be with the team for the upcoming season. Ellis, 32, may have been dangled in trade talks before last month's draft but is now not in danger of being jettisoned, according to a person familiar with the team's thinking.
"I don't know," Ellis said. "I think so. Well, I hope so. You never know what they're thinking up there. You've just got to roll with it. We try to control our own fate, but we really can't."
The Jets' longest-tenured player, Ellis is due to make $3.35 million in the final year of his contract. He recorded 6½ sacks last season, bringing his career total to 68 and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. Ellis has a troublesome knee, but the Jets are hoping to squeeze one more season out of him, especially with depth concerns at defensive end.
"Considering everything, I want to be here and I hope things get worked out," he said, "but it seems like they won't, to be truthful."
Ellis is one of several players seeking a contract extension. With younger players such as Darrelle Revis, David Harris and Nick Mangold also looking for big pay days, the Jets aren't likely to extend the aging defensive lineman. Ellis said he was told the team's policy is to let older players play out their contracts.
"There's always a possibility," Ellis said. "There's no secret that they want to get younger guys in, but I feel like I still have a lot of years to play and I'm just trying to do the right things I need to do. I'll just go out and play and have a good season and let it work itself out, whether it's here or somewhere else."
Despite it being an uncapped year, the Jets are reluctant to pay big money to veterans. Ellis falls into that category, but unless recently-converted defensive end Vernon Gholston becomes a force the Jets will have little choice but to retain Ellis.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum said he anticipates Ellis staying put this season.
"We appreciate Shaun's contributions and it's our expectation that he will be with the team for the 2010 season," Tannenbaum said.
Ellis is skeptical, though, after seeing so many veterans jettisoned.
"They talk good and then go do something else, but it's all a business," Ellis said. "For me, I definitely want to be here. I love playing here and I love the fans, and love the whole idea of being a Jet. I really can't picture myself playing for anybody else."
His agent, Mitch Frankel, said he began speaking to the Jets about a possible extension before last season and again this offseason.
"I've had no indication that he wouldn't be with the Jets this season," Frankel said.
Ellis had 56 tackles and two forced fumbles despite being suspended by the NFL for the season opener for violating the league's substance abuse policy following a marijuana arrest in November 2008. Ellis also set the franchise mark for postseason starts with his ninth, and had the first playoff sack of his career against Cincinnati.
"Since I've been here, I've done a lot and I've helped the team out a lot," said Ellis, who turns 33 next month. "I just think we have something really special here and it took a while for it to get here. And, now, maybe I won't be a part of it and it kind of hurts a little bit.
"They've got a lot of other guys to take care of also, I understand. I have some years in the league, but I'm still being productive. I should get some credit for that."
Ellis said his broken left hand, suffered in the Jets' 17-14 playoff win at San Diego on Jan. 17, is fully healed and has no restrictions. He also said his left knee, which occasionally swelled last season, is feeling fine.
"I never had a chance to really heal it after having arthroscopic surgery last offseason," he said. "I came back and went right into camp. Now, I've really had the time to get it stronger and it's coming along really good. No problems."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.