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Center of Attention: Nick Mangold retires as member of Jets

Tue Apr 24 3:32pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer

New York Jets center Nick Mangold, holding his 3-year-old daughter, Eloise, officially retires during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. Mangold announced his retirement a week earlier in a post on Twitter. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


New York Jets center Nick Mangold officially retires during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. Mangold announced his retirement a week earlier in a post on Twitter. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Former New York Jets offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, left, pretends to cry as he talks to center Nick Mangold following a news conference making Mangold's official retirement from NFL football, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. Mangold announced his retirement a week earlier in a post on Twitter. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Thomas Mangold, center, son of New York Jets center Nick Mangold, rests on his father's foot during a family portrait at a news conference making Nick Mangold's official retirement from NFL football, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. Mangold announced his retirement a week earlier in a post on Twitter. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


New York Jets center Nick Mangold, holding his 3-year-old daughter, Eloise, officially retires during an NFL football news conference, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. Mangold announced his retirement a week earlier in a post on Twitter. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


New York Jets center Nick Mangold, left, holds his 3-year-old daughter, Eloise, while signing a contract as team owner Christopher Johnson looks on during a news conference making his official retirement from NFL football, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. Mangold announced his retirement a week earlier in a post on Twitter. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro during his 11-year career. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Nick Mangold was the anchor of the New York Jets' offensive line for 11 seasons, a smart, reliable and tough dude who was one of the franchise's most consistently good players.

His sharp wit and sarcasm made him a favorite of teammates and fans. Mangold also rocked a big, bushy beard and long blond hair that made him look more like he belonged on a Viking ship than a football field.

But from 2006 until through 2016, Mangold was one of the NFL's best players at his position. On Tuesday, he was again the center of attention as he signed a one-day contract with the Jets to officially retire as a member of the team.

''I've had the good fortune of signing three contracts with the New York Jets,'' Mangold said while holding his 3-year-old daughter Eloise. ''This was the first one I signed with a child on my lap.''

The 34-year-old Mangold, wearing his Jets cap backward as he always did during his playing days, was honored during a ceremony that included a framed No. 74 jersey displayed on the podium, a video featuring career highlights and some music from Dave Matthews Band - one of his favorites - playing over the speakers as guests arrived.

The team feted the seven-time Pro Bowl selection, who announced his retirement last week , with his wife Jennifer and their three children in attendance, along with several other members of his family, including his sister Holley, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic weightlifting team. Former teammates D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Moore and Willie Colon were there, too, as was former Jets center John Schmitt from the 1969 Super Bowl-winning team, and current coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan.

Mangold was a first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2006 and immediately became a starter for New York. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2008, and finished with the second-most all-star honors in franchise history. Only offensive tackle Winston Hill with eight AFL/NFL selections has more.

''We knew he was smart, we knew he was tough and we knew he would give us everything he had on the field,'' acting owner Christopher Johnson said of the team drafting Mangold.

''What we didn't know was how much he would embrace our organization and this community. My vivid memories of him are running out of the tunnel wearing a first responders' hat, carrying the American flag or serving as Santa Claus for a charity event.

''Best Santa Claus ever, by the way.''

Mangold played in only eight games in 2016 because of ankle and foot injuries that landed him on the injured reserve list for the final month. He didn't play last season after being released by New York in February 2017.

''Going through the injury was difficult,'' Mangold said. ''But then as I was rehabbing and realized that I probably wouldn't be able to play at the level I wanted to play at and going through the (2017) season, I always thought that I was going to miss it. Like, something was going to happen where I'd miss it and be like, `I need to be out there. I need to be on the field.' And that never came.

''That's kind of where I knew: I'm in a good spot.''

Mangold added that spending increased time with his kids has helped keep him busy, keeping his mind off football. There were, however, some things he has missed.

''The hot and cold tubs,'' he said, drawing laughs. ''It's really difficult to do that at home.''

There was also the camaraderie of being with teammates, trying to deliver wins for the Jets.

''But, as far as football, I did what I could do,'' Mangold said. ''And I was done.''

Mangold, who grew up in Centerville, Ohio, plans to remain in the New Jersey area with his family, although he's unsure what's next for him.

''Well, my golf game has really suffered because of football,'' he said with a straight face.

''So, I'm looking forward to improving on that. Beyond that, I don't know. It's funny being retired at 34 and your career's over at 34 when there's still so much left to do.''

Maybe Mangold will eventually find his way into the political game. A report earlier this year linked him to a potential seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

''I found it funny when that came out because that was based off of a five-minute conversation,'' Mangold said with a laugh. ''And next thing I know I was getting phone calls and headlines and stuff and I got a good chuckle out of that, especially because technically I haven't graduated college yet. So, I don't think I'm qualified.''

Speaking of which, Mangold plans to take care of that one class to complete his degree. Until then, though, he'll enjoy celebrating one of the best careers in Jets history.

''To play in this city and be a part of it for 11 years,'' Mangold said, ''has been one of the greatest things I could have ever asked for.''

Player Notes
Larry Fitzgerald Jan 23 12:10pm ET

The Arizona Cardinals signed veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to a one-year deal on Wednesday so that he can return for a 16th season. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Fitzgerald will turn 36 at the end of August but will remain the No. 1 wideout on the team because of his experience. His numbers took a hit in one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2018, but he still led the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (734) and touchdowns (six). While Fitz can still make an impact on the field, he'll be returning to his third head coach in three years, but the addition of Kliff Kingsbury could improve the offense moving forward. We won't say for sure that Fitzgerald will return to the 1,000-yard mark, but he should be a serviceable WR3 at the very least.

From RotoBaller

Greg Schiano Jan 23 10:53am ET

Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is expected to land with the New England Patriots in a top defensive role when linebackers coach Brian Flores heading to the Miami Dolphins.

Steve Spagnuolo Jan 23 10:43am ET

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Larry Fitzgerald Jan 23 9:43am ET

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Fantasy Spin: Fitz had a 69-734-6 season, which was well below the 100-catch, 1,000-yard seasons the three years previously. The rookie quarterback was part of the problem, but he doesn't have much more upside next season. He's still a PPR asset, but he'll be a mid-round option as a WR3.

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Albert Wilson Jan 23 2:13am ET

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Fantasy Spin: After four largely nondescript seasons in Kansas City, Wilson flashed some playmaking ability before getting injured against the Lions. There are far too many variables in Miami for an accurate read on Wilson's fantasy prospects for 2019, but he did enough last year to warrant your attention.

Nick Foles Jan 23 1:53am ET

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Fantasy Spin: Mortensen indicates such a move would prevent Foles from going to a division rival, but it's all speculation at this point. While it's far from a sure thing, Foles could have some fantasy value in the right situation.

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Michael Crabtree Jan 22 11:53pm ET

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Cole Beasley Jan 22 5:23pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Beasley's frustrations are evident and understandable, although Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup are all bigger, more talented threats with the ball. Beasley does have a role to play and put together his second best season from a statistical standpoint. That being said, he's only a mid- to late-round PPR flier if he stays in Dallas.

Alex Smith Jan 22 4:50pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Cook was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, and maybe the lone bright spot. He's a top-five fantasy tight end candidate now after finishing 2018 as the TE5.

Julio Jones Jan 22 2:03pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Despite a slow start in the TD department (none in his first seven games) Jones also wound up leading the league in receiving yards (1,677) for the second time in the last four seasons. And even with Jones turning 30 this offseason (on Super Bowl Sunday), he remains an elite WR1 in all fantasy formats.

Marshawn Lynch Jan 22 2:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said the team is unsure if impending free-agent running back Marshawn Lynch plans to play in 2019. Gruden said "we'd love to have him back" if he decides to play another season. Beast Mode will turn 33 in April and is coming off a season in which he played in just six games due to injury. Lynch ran 90 times for 376 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and three scores. Even if Lynch returns, he'd be more of a low-upside, injury-risk RB2 for Oakland that is more attractive in standard-scoring leagues.

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Fantasy Spin: Lynch will be 33 by the time next season rolls around, but he'd still be a fantasy RB2 consideration if were to be projected to be the primary RB in Oakland.

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