The Jets had an obvious need at cornerback when they signed former Lion Aaron Berry, but they weren’t so desperate they didn’t investigate him thoroughly.
They did a background check, and got an endorsement from quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, who was on the Pitt staff that coached Berry in college.
“All precincts reported,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said of the check. “We feel Aaron has a chance to be successful on and off the field here. If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t bring him in here.”
The man he’s replacing, Darrelle Revis, also had a message for him.
“He just told me, ‘Learn from your mistakes and take advantage of this opportunity,’” Berry told USA Today’s Mike Garafolo. “‘Because you’re not going to get a third.’”
To his credit, Berry knows he’s standing at the plate with two strikes after a pair of offseason arrests which led to a three-game suspension.
Asked by Garafolo what he told the Jets, Berry admitted he screwed up.
“Did I make two big, dumb mistakes? Yes, I did. But am I a bad person? No,” Berry said. “And people who know me and supported me in this league and throughout college were able to get that through to them as well.
“[The Jets] trusted me, and I’d be a fool to let them down with another mistake.”
Now where would anyone get an idea like that?
Berry didn’t talk about his two arrests, one for DUI and another for waving a gun, both in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa. His attorney, Corky Goldstein, said he’s close to rolling both charges into one plea deal which will result in around 72 hours of jail time plus probation, fines and community service.
Goldstein said Berry “should’ve left a note,” when he hit a parked car which led to the DUI, and explained the other charge involved “a very small revolver.”
Yes, because no one’s ever been hurt by teeny, tiny guns, and drunk drivers are safer when they leave notes with their insurance information.
Having such excuses made for him doesn’t speak to true contrition, but Berry is being given a chance to make amends. His actions, not his words or the words of a lawyer named Corky, will reveal his true character.
“You don’t get this opportunity too many times,” Berry said. “People would die to be in my shoes, so I don’t want to let that pass up ever again.”
He’s right about that part, and so is Revis on the issue of how many chances he’ll get.