Joe McKnight: Why Jets RB Has No Choice but to Buy into Playing CB

Chris TrapassoAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 9:  Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets battles  Antwaun Molden #27 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 30-21. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

"I was drafted as a running back. The way I took it as I wasn't good enough to play running back; that's what I took it as. I don't know if that's the case or not."

The words from a clearly irritated and distraught New York Jets running back turned defensive back Joe McKnight, via Rich Cimini of

Upon learning that star cornerback Darrelle Revis tore his ACL and was out for the season, head coach Rex Ryan announced McKnight would make the unusual switch from offense to defense. 

It is easy to understand McKnight's frustration, but now, he must swallow his pride and make the most of a situation he has no control over—that is if he wants to prove to the Jets organization and the rest of the NFL he's a valuable commodity. 

Sure, McKnight hoped to become a playmaker on offense as a professional, a vital change-of-pace scat back and slippery return man. 

While he did make his mark as a returner last year with a respectable average of 31.6 yards per kickoff and a touchdown, he simply hasn't lived up to expectations as a running back. 

McKnight averaged a disappointing 3.1 yards per rush in 2011, and he's received three carries in three games on a team that's trying to emphasize the run and trying to find a third-down back. 

His low number of carries is the most glaring indictment of his ineffectiveness.  

So, although it's far from ideal for McKnight, a fresh opportunity awaits. 

Sulking about not playing running back will get him absolutely nowhere. 

Dedicating himself to being the best No. 3 cornerback he can be, will not only serve the Jets well, it'll greatly benefit his future as an NFL player. 

You see, McKnight's contract expires at the end of next season, and the Jets signed running back Jonathan Grimes off the Houston Texans' practice squad (h/t CBS New York)

Grimes is clearly a player the Jets believe can replace McKnight in the coming years. 

To remain financially stable, McKnight has to buy into his new defensive role, or it's highly unlikely that New York will offer him an extension during or re-sign him after the 2013 season. 

If the Jets don't offer McKnight another contract, there certainly won't be a huge market for the unproductive runner who'll be 26 years old.

He couldn't cut it as a runner, now he's given another chance to prove himself as a cornerback and maybe more importantly, a team player. 

McKnight's future depends on it.