Jets’ Clemens was upset he got no shot as No. 2 QB

Kellen Clemens entered training camp thinking he had a shot at

being the New York Jets’ backup quarterback.

It turned out Mark Brunell won the spot before the competition

even began, something that took Clemens a little while to get

over.

”Four or five days, and it showed in my play,” Clemens said

Monday. ”I went to the coach and I said, ‘Look, I’m frustrated.

What do I do?’ (He said), ‘Well, you can’t do anything. Go out

there and play like you can,’ and that’s what I did.”

Clemens appears at least to have beaten out Kevin O’Connell for

the No. 3 job behind both Brunell and starter Mark Sanchez.

”I would say he’s got a pretty strong chance of making this

team,” coach Rex Ryan said.

”Score!” Clemens said, tongue in cheek. ”That’s a heck of a

lot better than it could have been.”

Clemens has gone from the future of the franchise to trade bait

– or being cut by Saturday’s 53-man roster deadline – in just a few

seasons. The second-round pick out of Oregon in 2006 came to the

Jets with high expectations, but appeared on his way out this

summer after the team signed Brunell.

He still could be, despite the vote of confidence from Ryan.

Clemens is due to make $1.1 million this season, a high price tag

for a No. 3 quarterback.

”I don’t know all the games they play,” Clemens said. ”I take

Rex’s word. He’s always said he’s a man of his word and he’s going

to tell you how it is. So, when he says, ‘Yeah, I think he has a

pretty good chance,’ I feel like I have a pretty good chance. He

certainly didn’t say that I was a lock.”

Clemens addressed the media when the team reported for camp on

Aug. 1 in Cortland, N.Y., and said he expected to compete with

Brunell for the backup job. A few hours later, Ryan shot that down,

saying Brunell was the No. 2 guy.

”That was a situation where Rex and I had to visit behind

closed doors,” Clemens said, ”and just kind of try to get a

better understanding because I was under a different impression

coming in.”

Clemens has since put on a positive front, even amid rumors he

could be traded or cut. He’s 11 for 16 for 116 yards in two

preseason games; he didn’t play against Washington last week.

Clemens is expected to get lots of time in the preseason finale at

Philadelphia on Thursday night.

”Statistically, I haven’t blown anything away,” he said. ”My

percentage is good, yards aren’t real high (and) I haven’t thrown a

touchdown, but how I’ve graded out, it’s been my best preseason

ever.”

So, does he think he has been given a fair shake this

summer?

”To be the No. 3?” Clemens asked with a smile. ”Yes.”

Clemens has developed a good relationship with Brunell – ”I

can’t stand him. No, he’s a great guy.” – and the two talk about

hunting more than football. He believes he can still be an NFL

starter, but also wants to remain with the Jets, wherever that may

be on the depth chart.

”The Jets have an awesome chance to win the Super Bowl this

year and I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of it,” he

said. ”I hope that I’m here and we’ll just move forward with

whatever the results are come cut day.”