CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Kris Jenkins was the first to arrive at the SUNY Cortland dorm, his home for the next three weeks as the New York Jets settle in for training camp. Jenkins stepped out of his car and to the sidewalk, where he was swarmed by HBO's "Hard Knocks" camera crew.
The nose tackle, currently on the PUP list with a calf strain, smiled his brightest and said hello. It didn't look much like a traditional stage, but for the Jets, that's exactly what Cortland is this summer. There will be cameras to chronicle every harsh word and holdout. The organization hopes the transparency will win over football fans across the country, but with the attention comes expectation.
"Honestly, we're here for a Super Bowl," Jenkins said. "If we don't get there, really nothing else matters."
After reaching the AFC title game last season, Rex Ryan has told his players not to be afraid of those two words. Quarterback Mark Sanchez said that Ryan told them to embrace it, say it, write it down.
But that wasn't all the Jets were talking about. Some players were trying out their comedy routines on each other as they checked in. WR Braylon Edwards met reporters and joked that he and his formidable beard had arrived in separate cars.
"You want to be in front of the camera," Edwards said. "You want to say something funny, do something spectacular on the field."
But he added that the impulse should wear off once they get used to the cameras. That was a sentiment echoed by Jason Taylor, who it should be noted appeared on "Dancing With the Stars" and doesn't shy from the spotlight.
"Once you play it up you end up looking kind of corny," Taylor said. "From what they say if you play it up for the camera you won't be on. This is a tough time of year, anyone who's been around an NFL camp knows this is a difficult time, tough on the body, on the mind and the team."
"We're not here to get movie contracts," said veteran fullback Tony Richardson. "If you want that, retire and go to Hollywood."
So in the meantime, the Jets have returned to this isolated town to continue the bonding experiment that worked well last season. Ryan wanted to get his players away from the comforts of home, and that includes families, so that they can jump-start the season.
"This time of year it needs to be all about football and getting to know your teammates," Ryan said.
Revis or no Revis. It may put a damper on the production, but the show must go on.