4 former New York Jets are hoping to land a Super Bowl ring on Sunday. Here are all the details and why you should be rooting for them this weekend.
New York Jets fans haven’t enjoyed a Super Bowl in over 50 years. The last (and only) time Gang Green was in the final game of the football season was during the 1968 season when “Broadway” Joe Namath fulfilled his guarantee vs the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Heck, the team hasn’t made the playoffs in nine consecutive years which is the third-longest active drought among NFL teams.
So naturally, a lot of New York Jets fans have checked out and are looking ahead to the 2020 season. Before you do that, there are four former members of Gang Green that’ll be looking to achieve football immortality in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Darron Lee, linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs
Darron Lee was selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. Lee was supposed to be the new-age linebacker that could rush the passer and cover running backs and tight ends out of the backfield.
Unfortunately, things never worked out with Gang Green for a variety of reasons. Lee underperformed and when he was handed a suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy, that was the final straw.
Hours after Mike Maccagnan was fired as the general manager, Adam Gase traded Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2020 sixth-round draft choice.
With the Chiefs, Lee only started two regular-season games but played in all 16 mostly on special teams. Throughout the team’s postseason run he’s been inactive for every game and the expectation is that he will be inactive on Super Bowl Sunday.
Mo Claiborne, cornerback, Kansas City Chiefs
After flaming out with the Dallas Cowboys, Mo Claiborne joined the New York Jets in 2017 after Darrelle Revis moved on. In his two years with the team, he had a career renaissance snagging three interceptions in his Gang Green tenure.
This past offseason the team opted to go for youth instead of paying Mo and he eventually signed with the Chiefs as a free agent. He was suspended for the first quarter of the season but ended up playing in eight games and started one.
Claiborne has also been inactive for the entire Chiefs’ postseason run and is expected to miss the Super Bowl, but will be on the sideline.
The #Jets Zone w/ @BoyGreen25:– #SeniorBowl chat.– STORY TIME: that one time Paul awkwardly met Eli Manning in person. – Addressing #NFLDraft rumors that could help/hurt #TakeFlight in 2020.– Which players is team fielding calls on?#ThankYouEli https://t.co/DEMz804zf9
— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) January 24, 2020
Mike Pennel, defensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Pennel started his professional career as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers. After grinding for a few seasons he eventually joined the green and white spending two years in the defensive line rotation.
Initially, early in free agency this past offseason, Mike signed a two-year deal with the New England Patriots but they cut him late in the preseason.
It ended up being a blessing in disguise because Mike would sign on with the Chiefs a few months later and is now in the Super Bowl. Pennel played in eight games this year for the Chiefs and unlike Lee or Claiborne, Mike started both of the Chiefs’ playoff games and helped stymie Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship game holding him to 69 rushing yards.
Raheem Mostert, running back, San Francisco 49ers
Last but certainly not least, Raheem Mostert of the San Francisco 49ers. He’s the only former New York Jets player repping the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
If you don’t remember Raheem on the green and white I wouldn’t blame you. Out of all the former players playing in the big game on Sunday, he was with the Jets for the shortest amount of time. Six days as a matter of fact.
As ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted in his column, “the Jets made 64 transactions in September of 2016” and one of those was cutting Raheem Mostert.
After bouncing around the league he finally found a home with the 49ers. Once an afterthought of the Jets, he’s now one of the unknown heroes of this Super Bowl run for San Francisco.
In the NFC Championship game, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards (he finished with 220) and four touchdowns in a postseason game.
Ah what could’ve been, alas we’ll never know what Raheem would’ve turned into for the New York Jets.
The good news is at least one of these former New York Jets will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy on Sunday evening. It’ll be a feel-good story that perhaps can inspire confidence for Gang Green fans that perhaps another trip to the Super Bowl isn’t that far away.