Jetsâ€™ Decker: Iâ€™m not a Peyton Manning creation
by Brian Costello
Eric Decker is ready for life after Peyton.
The wide receiver signed with the Jets this week, leaving the Broncos and Peyton Manning behind in Denver. Now with Geno Smith throwing the ball to him, skeptics are wondering if his production will be left in Denver, too.
â€œDid [Manning] help? Of course he helped,â€ Decker said on a conference call with reporters Friday. â€œHeâ€™s a future of Hall of Famer, but I think Iâ€™m also a good football player and I think my skill set and my assets will help the team win football games.â€
The Jets believe so, too. They signed Decker to a five-year, $36.25 million deal this week to fill their gaping hole at wide receiver.
Decker came to New Jersey on Tuesday night and met with the Jetsâ€™ staff on Wednesday at their Florham Park headquarters. He said he had two other visits lined up, but declined to name with which teams. But the Jetsâ€™ brass won him over and he agreed to a deal Wednesday night.
â€œI feel like the New York Jets have given me the most respect,â€ Decker said. â€œ[They] have welcomed me into their building and thatâ€™s important to me. I want to be an asset to a team and they expressed that with me.
â€œI think this team has a lot of potential. Itâ€™s a young football team and I feel like Iâ€™ve always played the underdog role throughout my life, throughout my football career, now, college and high school and I am motivated to help this team win football games. To me thatâ€™s the most important thing, joining a culture that wants to do that. I enjoyed my time in Denver, but I am excited about this opportunity of being a teammate for the New York Jets.â€
Decker said he was impressed by the area when the Broncos stayed in New Jersey during the week before the Super Bowl. They practiced at the Jetsâ€™ building.
â€œI think New Jerseyâ€™s underrated,â€ Decker said. â€œItâ€™s a beautiful place.â€
Decker is married to country singer Jessie James and the two have a reality television show on the E! Network, but he said this decision was about football, not marketing.
â€œHonestly, my priority when I went on the visit was football,â€ Decker said. â€œI wanted to do whatâ€™s best for me as a football player, and this organization offered that.â€
Some critics have said Decker was exposed in the Super Bowl when he was held to one catch, but Decker said it was just a rough day in general for the Broncos, who were blown out by the Seahawks.
â€œFrom a personal standpoint, I wish I would have played a better football game,â€ Decker said. â€œI wish I would have been more productive.â€
Decker said the Broncos never made him an offer to return. He was disappointed, but understands the reality of the business.
Decker, who turns 27 on Saturday, said he believes he can bring some of what made the Broncos a record-setting offense to the Jets, who finished 31st in passing offense last season.
â€œMy goal is to take the knowledge and the preparation that Iâ€™ve learned these last four years with some great coaches, with a great quarterback and share that with my teammates,â€ he said. â€œI think you win football games between Wednesday and Saturday and the preparation that we did as an offense in Denver can be done in New York.â€