Jets take Kenrick Ellis despite pending criminal trial

Every year, a handful of NFL prospects are faced with unfortunate legal entanglements.  The New York Jets devoted a third-round pick to a player who has one.

And it’s a big one.

Per Rich Cimini of, defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of felony assault.  The trial is set for July 12.

Ellis allegedly broke the jaw and nose of a man during an altercation on the Hampton (Va.) University campus.

The Jets are calling it a “pending legal issue,” which sounds a lot better than “possibly two decades in the clink.”

“Maybe his risk is more than others, but if we didn’t feel he’d be successful here, we wouldn’t have taken him,” G.M. Mike Tannenbaum said, per Cimini.  “It was appropriate to take him where we took him.”

Ellis declined to address the situation, in remarks distributed by the team.  “That is a pending legal issue,” Ellis said.  “I cannot really talk about that right now.  I apologize it is [still] pending.

He wouldn’t even address the status of the “pending legal issue.”  Said Ellis:  “I cannot get into it if there is a trial or anything.  I’m sorry sir.”

Ellis nevertheless thinks his problems are behind him, even if he ends up in a place where he literally may have to worry constantly about what is behind him.

“Yes I am,” he said.  “I am very confident.  A lot of things happened when I was younger.  I am not proud of it but I have learned from it.  It was a learning experience and I have learned from my mistakes.”

Though he won’t talk specifics, he has no problem admitting that, at some point in his life, he did things he shouldn’t have done.

“I am human,” Ellis said.  “I have made mistakes.  I feel like from me making these mistakes I have learned from them and have grown as a person.  I have moved on from the mistakes I have made in the past that I will never do them again.  I am a different person from who I was then. . . .

“I am not perfect.  I have made some mistakes.  At a point I realized, life is too short.  From everything I do to every mistake I made, I learn from it.  I just try to use that to make decisions in the future and make me stronger.  Given that I did make those mistakes makes me the person that I am today.  Which is a better person, much smarter, and more mature.”

Even if Ellis never makes another mistake, he possibly has made just enough of them to prevent him from ever playing pro football.  Though the maximum sentence that is attached to any charge rarely matches the ultimate sanction imposed, a ceiling of 20 years implies a floor that entails real time behind bars.

17 responses to “Jets take Kenrick Ellis despite pending criminal trial

  1. Ahhh that “classy” J-E-T-S organization never ceases to amaze me.
    If the J-E-T-S had Ellis on the team last season they would have won the Super Bowl!
    He must have pretty feet.

  2. Wow, VA courts are not leniant at all and he’s not famous enough to get out of it, this doesn’t look like a good situation, he’s spending at least 5 years in jail if I had to guess and team traveling will be restricted if put on probation or suspended sentence. I don’t get how teams can pick a guy that high if it’s known before hand that he might never even step on the field

  3. What I suspect he is charged with is called Malicious Wounding in Virginia which carries a maximum of 20 years. It basically means you assaulted someone with intent to cause serious bodily harm, not quite attempted murder but darn close. Going on the very little information about his case which is supposedly that he got into a fist fight in which he was not the aggressor, it sounds like he was charged with it because of the extent of the other guy’s injuries. That said, oftentimes, these charges are plea bargained to unlawful wounding which generally does not result in jail time for a first offender, particularly when a weapon (aside from a fist) is not used.

  4. The Jets aren’t stupid. They know in this country with our justice system, no prosecutor or judge is going to try to make someone with an NFL contract go to prison for 20 years. They will give him a probation deal because he will settle monetarily with the person he beat up who won’t cooperate with prosecutors, and he will start his career. Like it or not, thats the justice system we have.

  5. Virgina is the state the refers to 10 miles over the speed limit as “Wreckless Driving”.

    This kid is going to be just fine. The Jets did their homework.

  6. Supposedly Ellis was defending a woman and the guy he ruined came at him with a baseball bat. Sounds like the Jets took the time to know the whole story and took a flier on him. Could be an all pro NT if he keeps his nose clean.

  7. @imtalking…

    The New York Jets are a professional organization with alot of resources. They are based in New York, the media capital of the world. They have a brash coach with a huge personality that keeps them on the front page in New York and throughout the country. They play their home games in a brand new state-of-the-art stadium and their training complex is the best in the league.

    Calling names is the definition of classless.

  8. Bringing an accused felon and criminal to the team? Who are you turning in to, the Pittsburgh Steelers? Don’t let the Steelers poor example of character choice and massive blind eye turning to their multiple criminal players fool you Jets, you don’t need to have sociopaths on your team to win the big game. The Steelers are a disgrace to all sports teams in the world, don’t try to emulate their despicable ways.

  9. 3yrsnfl

    Sorry but you have no idea where the Jets are located. Their training facility and front office are located in NJ. That’s a DIFFERENT state than NY.

    As far as the courts afraid of locking up a NFL star with a contract, Brendon Jacobs may disagree with you.

  10. rscalzo

    Right, Floram Park. And… It’s sweet!

    By the way… It’s Brandon Jacobs.

  11. *LOL*..Twenty years in prison for busting a guys jaw…get lost…it will never happen!
    @kyleortonsarm; “accused” is not the same as guilty, or convicted. Obviously you have trouble understanding that. Its why we have a justice system. But your perfect and will never be “accused” RIGHT?….JERK!!

  12. Note to all people who have legal troubles:
    There’s a HUGE HUGE expanse of space between “not being perfect” and “committing crimes”.
    Most of us live in that grey area and none of us inhabit the “perfect” sphere either. Please don’t equate what you did to NOT BEING PERFECT or MAKING A MISTAKE. A “mistake” is forgetting to turn your oven off or close the garage door…not ASSAULT. That’s what we call a DECISION. Heat of the moment and emotion influenced? Yes…but a DECISION nonetheless.

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