Ryan: Absence of Jones, Washington ‘unfortunate’

New York Jets running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have both been no-shows to the team’s voluntary minicamp this week as they attempt to negotiate new contracts. On Thursday, Jets coach Rex Ryan opened up on not having his top two running backs at practice.

“I understand this is a long voluntary camp and all that stuff,” Ryan said.  “Would I like (Washington) to be here? Absolutely. No question.  I would love for Leon to be here and Thomas (Jones).  But (they) choose not to be here and that is unfortunate.”

Ryan has expressed admiration for Washington’s skills, which he has yet to see in person. On Thursday, the New York Post reported that Washington’s agent had made progress in negotiations with the Jets.

“I was disappointed, but again, it is a voluntary camp.  Things like this come up every year on every team. Again, Leon is a great guy and who knows where he is getting advice from or whatever?  It is a voluntary camp.”

Ryan downplayed the impact of not having his top two running backs at practice.

“It really doesn’t impact us.  It provides opportunity for other guys, for (Danny) Woodhead and guys like that to step in there and show what they can do. The offensive line is there.  Somebody is going to look good a lot of times back there, whoever is running with the football.  But again, I am not going to sit here and say that I don’t wish he was here. Of course I do, but it does provide an opportunity for us to get a good look at Woodhead and, to be honest, I am impressed with him.”

Ryan did say he expects both Jones and Washington to be at the team’s mandatory minicamp and that both will be playing and ready to go once the season begins.

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