CORTLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jason Babin wasn’t ready to call it a career. Not when he believes he still has a few sacks left in him.
The 34-year-old pass-rushing specialist practiced with the New York Jets on Friday, a day after signing a two-year deal.
The next chapter of his football life has officially begun.
“I guess the doubt would’ve been if I wanted to ride off into the sunset and go fishing,” Babin said, smiling. “I just felt like there’s a lot of football I wanted to play yet, and when I walk away or they tell me, ‘No more,’ I want it to be on a positive note and a good situation.”
Babin signed Thursday after agreeing to terms Wednesday, shortly before the team reported for training camp at SUNY Cortland. He wore No. 58 and is listed as a linebacker, though he has also played defensive end.
He worked briefly with the starting defense, but mainly practiced with the second team.
“There’s a big learning curve, so I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be,” Babin said, “but that’s to be expected.”
He was impressed by how, in just the team’s second practice of training camp, the defense already appeared on the same page.
“It’s like a well-oiled machine,” Babin said. “The coach is making the signals, the calls, and everybody’s helping each other. You’re like, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be.’ It’s really exciting.”
Babin had a team-leading 7 1/2 sacks last season for Jacksonville and was released in the offseason. He has 62 1/2 career sacks in 10 NFL seasons, including a personal-best 18 in 2011 with Philadelphia.
“I think the first thing that jumps out about Babin is obviously the production he has had throughout his career as a pass rusher,” coach Rex Ryan said. “He has a relentless motor, so that part we’re excited about.”
Ryan said he has long been a fan of Babin, who will give the Jets depth on defense with another guy who can get to the quarterback. The move is reminiscent of the one New York made in 2010, when it signed an aging Jason Taylor to boost its pass rush.
“Definitely, we brought him in here to play,” Ryan said. “Not that he’s going to sit on the pine all the time. We brought this guy in to contribute.”
Babin was a first-round draft pick by Houston out of Western Michigan in 2004 and also has played for Seattle, Kansas City and Tennessee. He was claimed by Jacksonville off waivers from Philadelphia in 2012.
He voided the final two years of his contract in March to become a free agent, but re-signed with the Jaguars a few days later. Jacksonville released the two-time Pro Bowl selection after the team’s minicamp in June, but Babin wouldn’t go into details about what transpired with the Jaguars.
“Well, all I can say about that is it’s football,” Babin said. “You can’t worry about the past. I got a great opportunity out of it and a good situation and I’m happy to be here.”
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