NEW YORK (AP) — Sione Pouha wanted to be a “Jet for life.”
He will get that chance after agreeing to a three-year contract Monday with the New York Jets.
The team made re-signing the nose tackle a top priority before he hit free agency on Tuesday. They got the deal done with the 33-year-old Pouha just in time.
“First and foremost, I’m ecstatic and excited,” Pouha said. “This is something I always wanted.
“Every player that approaches the last year of their contract and enters the screen door of free agency knows there’s always the possibility [of leaving], but in my mind I always wanted to be with the Jets, remain with the Jets.”
Even though the team slumped on defense last year, Pouha had a strong season. Coach Rex Ryan often cited Pouha’s contributions, particularly against the run.
“Other than the things that happened, I am more excited for the things that are going to happen,” he said.
Pouha has spent his entire career with the Jets. He became a starter when Ryan was hired as coach in 2009 and has been one of the Jets’ most reliable defensive players the past three seasons. He had 58 tackles last season and also was credited for a safety.
Pouha knows the Jets’ stinginess on defense must return for them to be a factor in the AFC. After making the conference title game in 2009 and ’10, they slumped to 8-8 last year, ranking fifth in total defense, but only 13th against the rush.
“We’ll continue working on the things we know we do best, understanding the scheme of the defense,” Pouha said. “Football is not like reinventing the wheel, it will always stays the same. Starting with OTAs and minicamps, we’ll go back to what we know how to do — learning the defense and learning how we fit into the scheme, and playing together.”
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