HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (July 29, 2007) -- Pete Kendall thinks his contract dispute with the New York Jets will end soon. It's already gone on longer than the offensive lineman imagined.
"This could have been dealt with a thousand ways, all of them positively," Kendall said.
Kendall, in his 12th season, is looking for a $1 million raise on his $1.7 million salary, but the Jets won't budge. One of the major reasons is believed to be general manager Mike Tannenbaum's refusal to set precedent by renegotiating a deal with several years remaining after redoing Kendall's contract -- a four-year deal -- before last season.
The tension between the sides is evident at every practice as the 34-year-old Kendall stands apart from his teammates, often with one knee on the ground, and watches as the first-team players take their reps. He's practicing mostly with the second team, while Adrien Clarke goes with the starters.
"I don't feel that this is going to go on much longer," Kendall said. "I feel in my heart that I'm going to get moved. I believe that this decision has already been made."
When asked why, last season's starting left guard responded simply: "Look at where I take my repetitions."
Kendall said he has made repeated requests to be traded or released by the Jets. Rather than hold out, he has been at every practice because he doesn't want to pay the possible $14,000 in fines for every absence.
"If that's the type of esprit de corps they want, all I can do is be honest about how I feel," Kendall said.
Kendall's agent, Neil Schwartz, also represents cornerback Darrelle Revis, the team's first-round pick who is holding out. Kendall doesn't believe his situation is affecting negotiations between the team and Revis.
"I don't think Neil looks at it that way," Kendall said. "Neil always looks at the best interest of the player. He's always done that with me and I believe he'll do that with Darrelle and everybody else."