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Jets relieved to have Robertson - ESPN Insider - 5/30/2003


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Jets relieved to have Robertson

By Darrell Trimble

NFL Insider

Friday, May 30

Updated: May 30

11:42 AM ET

The New York Jets traded both of their first-round choices to jump up and select Dewayne Robertson with the fourth overall pick in this year's draft. Likened to Warren Sapp, Robertson appeared to be the perfect fit for the Jets' defensive scheme, which is modeled after Monte Kiffin's setup in Tampa Bay.

But there may have been another reason they targeted him as their top choice -- the tenuous status of defensive tackle Josh Evans. When the Jets signed Evans prior to last year's training camp, Evans had just successfully avoided a year-long suspension for repeated violations of the league's substance abuse policy.

Evans was second on the team with six sacks, and the Jets were so pleased with him they paid a $3 million option bonus in March, which triggered the final three years of his contract. But recent events show the team's faith in Evans may have been misplaced.

The New York Times reports Evans has tested positive for marijuana use, according to three people familiar with the results of a test administered by the NFL. Evans vehemently denies the charge.

"I did not use or smoke marijuana," Evans told The Times. "I didn't smoke, I didn't use marijuana in no type of way."

Like last year, Evans plans to file an appeal with the league, the result of which could come within days. If the appeal fails, commissioner Paul Tagliabue will act as a one-man jury and decide his fate, which could range from a short suspension to a lifetime ban.

The Jets were well aware of Evans' status when they signed him, and knowing he was one step away from never playing in the league again had to play into their decision to shore up the defensive interior with a younger player.

Robertson was supposed to rotate with Evans at tackle, but if Evans is suspended, Robertson will be forced into full-time duty immediately. And while Robertson may be ready to take over, there's always a chance he could hit the rookie wall and leave the Jets vulnerable late in the season.

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