The second-year nose tackle also received visits from coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson, whom Ellis said each came down to the Hampton (Va.) City Jail separately.
“They came to see me just to show their support, because they understand the situation,” Ellis said today. “I’m just happy to be here right now and just happy to be in training camp.”
Ellis was sentenced to 45 days in jail after entering an Alford plea to misdemeanor assault and battery in May, stemming from a 2010 incident at Hampton University. He was granted a split sentence and will serve the remaining days in March, so that he would not miss any time in training camp.
Ellis said the jail time was tough mentally, so he read to “keep your mind out of the situation.” It was also a challenge to stay in shape physically, but he reported at 345 pounds and passed his conditioning test. He spent the past few weeks at TEST Sports Clubs in Martinsville, mixing in mixed martial arts alongside teammate Bart Scott.
The jail visits from his Jets employers encouraged Ellis, and he said it “really helped me a lot to know I am part of the Jets organization.”
“I was in there, I’m remorseful for what I did, and I’m happy I got that chapter over,” Ellis said. “It was 23 days, and now I’m back out ready to contribute the best I can to help the Jets this year.”
Ellis, a third-round pick who joined the team with raw talent, was active for just five games last year. His goal is to be a more consistent piece in the defensive line rotation. After the season, he will return to custody, but for now that is out of his mind.
“After the season, I’ve got to face that part again,” Ellis said. “For now, I’m just going to focus on football. The first half is behind me, the second half is ahead, but for now let’s just focus on football.”