Jet of the Day: DE Shaun Ellis
In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the New York Jets’ storied past. Today, we take a look at defensive end Shaun Ellis.
One of four first-round picks the Jets made in the 2000 NFL draft (12th overall), Ellis came to New York after helping the Tennessee Volunteers win the first BCS National Championship in college football history. Although he tallied 12.5 career sacks for UT, the highlight of his college career was a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Despite playing a rotational role in his rookie season (just three starts), Ellis proved to be an effective pass rusher, tallying 8.5 sacks. He would manage just nine more sacks as a full-time starter over the next two seasons combined, but broke out in 2003. That year, Ellis racked up a career-high 12.5 sacks, earning his first of two Pro Bowl nods.
Ellis followed up his impressive 2003 campaign with 11 more sacks in 2004. He would never again notch double-digit sacks in a season, but he remained a stout presence on the Jets for his entire career. He earned his second Pro Bowl berth in 2009, at the age of 32.
In all, Ellis spent 11 of his 12 NFL seasons in the Gang Green, finishing his pro tenure with a one-year stop in New England for the division-rival Patriots.
Ellis appeared in 170 games for the Jets, the most of any defensive lineman in franchise history, and his 72.5 career sacks trail only Mark Gastineau (74) on the team’s all-time list. His 80 tackles for loss are the most in team history, while his 13 forced fumbles are the team’s fourth-best all-time mark.