Jansen ready to prove himself in Detroit
DETROIT -- Jon Jansen's search for a new team lasted less than a day.
"After taking care of things Monday, I'm very excited to show I've got more than one year left in my career," Jansen said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "The Lions were the No. 1 team I wanted to sign with because it brings me back home, and it gives me a chance to be one of the guys to turn things around."
Jansen, who is from Clawson, Mich., is set to join the NFL's first team coming off an 0-16 season.
"I've been a right tackle my whole life, but I just want to compete for a job anywhere from right to left tackle," he said. "I've even played center, so wherever they need help, I'll be ready to do my part."
Jansen insisted he can still contribute after injuries took a toll on his career.
He started all but one game over seven seasons after being drafted from Michigan a decade ago, but didn't play in 2004 or in 2007 and was limited to 11 starts last season.
Jansen had two years remaining on a five-year, $23 million contract extension he signed two years ago.
He was released after a morning meeting with owner Dan Snyder, front office chief Vinny Cerrato and coach Jim Zorn. Jansen and his wife were flown in Snyder's plane from their offseason home in Michigan to Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.
"He means a lot to me, truly," Zorn said. "He's been a tremendous part of this program. I didn't want to just call him up and go `Hey, I'm cutting you today."
When Jansen said he wanted to keep playing, the Redskins granted him his release.
Jansen started 122 games for the Redskins, validating his nickname "Rock" by missing only one snap in his first five seasons while playing close to Pro Bowl level.
A ruptured Achilles' tendon in 2004, two broken thumbs in 2005, a torn calf muscle in 2006, a broken ankle in 2007 and a sprained knee in 2008 kept him off the field and hindered his skills.
Jansen temporarily lost his starting job to Stephon Heyer last year, but returned for this year's offseason workouts and organized team activities determined to show he could still play at a high level.
"He was going to prove to everybody that he could make the Pro Bowl and be an All-Pro player, and that's what we were hoping for as well," Zorn said. "At the minicamp and the OTAs, I didn't see that."
Jansen, however, questioned the timing of the Redskins' decision.
"My response was I would have hoped for a better chance at the OTAs and the minicamp and maybe some more reps," Jansen said in a telephone interview as he headed to the airport for the flight home. "I think that their mind was made up prior to that, and that's OK. I just wish it would have happened a little sooner."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press