Raiders cornerback Mike Jenkins is surely licking his chops in anticipation of Thanksgiving; but not for the same reason as everybody else.
This year he gets to face off with his former team, and he is certainly hoping for a feast.
“It’s going to be fun getting back out there, getting out there seeing them in the pregame. But in between the clock, it’s going to be a straight battle. They know what it’s going to be, and I know what it’s going to be.” he said of the matchup.
Jenkins was a first-round draft selection of the Cowboys in 2008, but a whole lot has changed since then.
A 2009 Pro Bowl season showed promise, but Jenkins’ tenure in Dallas was all downhill from there; injury plagued the years that followed, and it all culminated in a messy divorce of sorts when the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne going into the 2012 season.
There was rampant speculation that those roster moves, combined with an inability to stay healthy had shot Jenkins’ confidence and sent him into a spiral.
When asked about that speculation:
“My swagger and my confidence never left, my last few years in Dallas had nothing to do with swagger. It was more of a personal vendetta that was going on around there, and I don’t care too much to talk about it.”
He continued, “It was personal, I don’t care too much to talk about it. It had nothing to do with what was going on on the field or with swagger or anything like that. Like I said, I’m past that. I’m a year out of that franchise. Me talking about them, bringing up old stuff, I don’t see the point of bringing up old fire.”
Whatever the reason was, Mike Jenkins was the odd man out in Dallas.
He found a new home in April 2013 with the Raiders, regained his health, and got back to a high level of play immediately.
He credits the Raiders organization with the turnaround, and backhands the Cowboys organization in one fell swoop.
“My game’s changed because I’m back on the field,” Jenkins said. “I’m playing for somebody who actually lets me go out and do what I want to do and has faith in me. That’s what I love about this organization. These guys, they let me do what I do. This is my field, this is my side, this is mine.”
Surely when Jenkins walks onto the field in Dallas his mind will flood with memories, some good and some bad.
He’ll reunite with old teammates; they’ll laugh and shake hands and be pleasant.
But when the game clock begins, and he makes his way to the sideline that dons Silver and Black, that will all be motivation to prove that Mike Jenkins was the wrong choice to be the odd man out.