New York Jets safety Emmanuel Cook took the time to talk with TOJ about his off-season, his hopes for the coming year, and his charity work…
TOJ: How are you working to stay in shape during the lockout? Have you worked with any other current or former teammates?
EC: I work out daily. I’m in the gym a lot. I also have a special trainer I work with. I do field drills, beach workouts, swimming, lots of running and weights. Kenrick Ellis and I went to college together and we’re both from West Palm Beach, so we work out together quite a bit. I’m feeling good about the shape I’m in. Whenever we get back to work I’m ready to go.
TOJ: Can you discuss being moved to the active roster for the stretch run and the playoffs last year? Did you expect it and what was the experience like once were you out on the field?
EC: I’ve been with the Jets on and off for the past two years. That’s my team. That’s where I feel at home. When I got the call I was excited and ready to go. Since getting signed as a UDFA in 09′, I’ve been working really hard for that chance and the only thing on my mind was stepping up to do whatever the team needed me to do. It was a great experience and I’m grateful for it and ready to show the team and the fans more of what I can do this season.
TOJ: Do you think you have ability to become a core special teams player for Mike Westhoff? What type of skills can you bring to those units?
EC: I know I can. I believe some of the plays I had last season gave a glimpse of what I can do. I play with a lot of heart. I spent the past two pre-seasons working with Coach Westhoff and he is the best in the game. I’ve learned a lot from him and I respect him a lot. I believe my special teams abilities helped me get the spot on the Roster this year.
TOJ: Are you confident about your ability to work yourself into a bigger role on the defense this year, especially considering Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo are all free agents?
EC: I definitely want to have a bigger role in the defense. I’ve spent this off-season preparing for it. Physically I have the abilities and as far as mental preparation, I study my plays and I’ve spent the 09′ and 10′ training camps/pre-seasons with the team, so I’m very comfortable with the defense we run. Whatever job I’m asked to do, I’m going to do it and give it my all.
TOJ: What player on the Jets roster did you learn the most from this past season?
EC: That’s a tough question because of the talent we have, but I’d have to say Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith. Both of those guys do a great job. I’ve learned a lot from them skill wise as well as how to play smarter when I’m out there.
Here is information from Emanuel himself on the charity work he is currently doing…
I lost a best friend and high school football teammate, DeAndre Butler, to Leukemia in December of 2008. I’vemade it my mission to use whatever visibility I have to help in the fight against blood cancers in his memory. July 1-2 in West Palm Beach I am having a Celebrity Charity Weekend. We’ll have a meet and greet at Duffy’s Sports Bar on July 1st from 5-7pm as well as a Bowl-a-thon at Verdes Lanes on July 2nd from 3-6pm. It will be hosted by myself and I’ve got a handful of other NFL players coming to support, including Kenrick Ellis.
I’ve also created red silicone bracelets imprinted with “Remember DeAndre Butler” that I’m selling for $5 with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, their New York City Chapter recently asked me to run for their “Man of the Year” in 2012 and I accepted, so I’m looking forward to that campaign as well.
Anybody who is interested in coming to the charity weekend or wants a bracelet can email RememberDeAndreButler@gmail.com or checkout www.facebook.com/rememberdeandrebutler. They can also always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read every message that comes in.