- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Banned from working out at the team facility during the NFL labor dispute, two New York Jets players have turned to a familiar trainer -- Sal Alosi.
Yes, that Sal Alosi.
The disgraced former Jets strength and conditioning coach, who infamously tripped a Miami Dolphins player in a game last December and ultimately resigned under pressure, is training left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and defensive end Mike DeVito, ESPNNewYork.com has learned.
Alosi is conducting the workouts at his home in New Jersey. He converted his garage into a gym, taking on clients as he attempts to rehabilitate his career. When the lockout began in March, forcing players to find new places to work out, Alosi began calling players on the team to recruit them, sources said.
It's a strange twist to a bizarre chapter in team history.
The 305-pound DeVito, regarded by Jets coaches as perhaps the strongest player on the team, jumped at the chance to train under Alosi's supervision.
"I wanted to work with a coach that knows how to train NFL players," DeVito said Wednesday in a phone interview. "Every year that I've worked with Sal, I got that much better. I trust him and I buy into his program. I wanted to make sure I stayed on the same track. Sal is the best strength coach I've ever been around."
Ferguson was reluctant to discuss his association with Alosi, saying with a laugh, "I can't confirm or deny those allegations." He seemed surprised when asked about it Tuesday as he left the Jets' facility after learning that the team's weight room was closed to players in the aftermath of a federal judge's decision to lift the lockout.
"I'm just trying to keep where I'm working to myself," Ferguson said. "Until we can get back, you try to make the best decisions. I'm doing what I think is best for me."
Ferguson's agent, Brad Blank, said he has no problem with his client working with Alosi, who was the Jets' head strength coach from 2007 until his suspension late last season.
"He's a good coach, and the players like him," Blank said. "They're working out with him, they're not standing on a sideline with him. What Sal did was wrong, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be able to train players again."
When asked how the Jets feel about players training under Alosi, a team spokesman said in a statement: "It's not surprising that some of the players have chosen to work with Sal. He worked with us for a number of years and there's a familiarity there."
DeVito said he trains with Alosi anywhere from three to five times a week. Alosi's home is about 25 minutes from the Jets' facility, and he turned his garage into a scaled-down version of the team's weight room, according to DeVito.
"All the stuff we can do at the Jets, we can do there," DeVito said.
DeVito said Alosi is hoping to restart his career by catching on with a professional or college team, adding that Alosi is coping well in the aftermath of the embarrassing tripping incident.
"He's showing how strong he is," DeVito said. "Being a Christian guy, he'll become stronger because of these circumstances. Even though there's a storm going on right now, he's growing from it."
Alosi became a national story last Dec. 12, when he intentionally tripped Dolphins "gunner" Nolan Carroll as he ran along the Jets' sideline to cover a punt in a game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Initially, Alosi was suspended for the remainder of the season and fined $25,000, but the Jets suspended him indefinitely after determining he instructed players to stand in a wall along the sideline.
The NFL came down hard on the Jets, fining them $100,000. On Jan. 31, the team announced Alosi's resignation. Coach Rex Ryan, referring to the incident in his soon-to-be-released book, calls it "a stupid mistake ... But I think he's a hell of a coach."
Efforts to reach Alosi were unsuccessful. He likely signed a confidentiality agreement upon his resignation, prohibiting him from commenting on anything pertaining to his time with the Jets. A woman who answered the phone at his parents' home on Long Island told a reporter, "You have the wrong number" -- and hung up immediately.
Coincidentally, DeVito and Ferguson were the only two players that showed up Wednesday at the Jets' facility, hoping to work out. For the second straight day, they were told at the door that the weight room was closed.
"I wanted to be there, just in case they allowed us in the weight room, like the Giants did," DeVito said.
DeVito and Ferguson have a financial incentive, too -- workout bonuses of $350,000 and $750,000, respectively. Clearly, both players want it known they're making an effort to satisfy the workout clauses in their contracts.
DeVito said he will continue to train with Alosi until the labor dispute is settled.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.
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