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Coles To Jets: My Presence Will Be Missed


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This is from the NY POST:



July 30, 2003 -- ASHBURN, Va. - Laveranues Coles had caught everything Patrick Ramsey threw at him, the way he had caught everything Chad Pennington threw at him a year ago.

Take this to the bank - the Jets will miss Coles more than Coles misses the Jets.

The Jets insist life after Laveranues will go on without missing a beat.

"That's what you're supposed to think," Coles said. "You have to be optimistic, 'cause I think if things don't work out for 'em, it's gonna be some heads that roll up there pretty much. For their sake, I hope they don't miss a beat, and things do go well."

Asked how the Jets will miss him, Coles said:

"I think it's me in the locker room; me talking to the guys. Just my presence.

"I think also, when the team was down and they needed a play to be made, I was that guy, and I knew I was that guy. It was nothing that had to be mentioned or said, but when nothing was going right and we needed a play my number was called."

He anoints Santana Moss as his go-to-guy successor. "I think if they give him that role of being that playmaking guy, I think the offense'll take off," Coles said. "But until then, I think that's what they're gonna be missing."

On his way inside from Redskins practice yesterday he stopped to sign autographs and pose for pictures for his new fans pleading on the other side of a picket fence. Every other Redskin had left the field.

"I gotta sign; I gotta sign," Coles said to one of the public relations aides.

"Laveranues, surprised that the Coles jerseys are already out?" asked a fan.

"Yeah, that's very surprising," Coles said.

"Great practice again today, Trouble," a man said, and Coles laughed at the mention of his old nickname.

"You know Hail to the Redskins yet, man?" another man asked, and Coles said, "No, they told me I gotta learn it."

"Hey Laveranues, are you gonna get 1,500 yards this year?" a man asked, and Coles said, "I'm gonna pray for it."

Coles bent down to sign for a young man in a wheelchair. "Thanks for allowing me to sign your helmet, sir," Coles told him.

Even though Laveranues Coles, The $35-Million Man, does not know the lyrics to Hail to the Redskins, he sings it every day anyway.

The Jets will miss him more than he misses the Jets, even as he leaves a small piece of his heart in New York.

To wit: he is wearing No. 80. "A lot of guys have had success with this number; for instance, my old counterpart Wayne Chrebet had a lot of success with it," Coles said. "It's a cool number. I think I look good in it."

His new fans, and new quarterback, sure think he does. "A hundred miles an hour and fearless," Ramsey said.

Coles was asked whom he blamed for his being in burgundy and gold rather than green and white?

"I don't blame my teammates, that's for sure. And I don't blame Herm [Edwards]. I'd have to say Woody [Johnson], 'cause he's the owner, he calls all the shots. I guess he felt I wasn't worth it, and from here, we'll see."

The Jets lowballed Coles with a $6 million signing bonus offer. It hurt him. But time - and a $13 million signing bonus - heals all wounds. He shook hands with Johnson recently at a shoot for the season opener at Tao.

"He made the comment that one day maybe I'll be a Jet again, you never know," Coles said. "He told me that the organization is always gonna be there for me anytime I ever need anything. I loved them, they loved me. We had to part ways on a business decision."

He has peace of mind. "For some reason, the contract lifted all the bitterness I had inside of me and everything towards everybody," Coles said.

Coles was asked which Jets called him after he became a Redskin.

"Everybody," Coles said.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and every day is Christmas for Laveranues Coles.

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