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But the Jets were interested enough to acquire the burly nose tackle on waivers, and there was some buzz among Green & White faithful at his arrival.
Then last week head coach Todd Bowles added his name to the list of offseason admirers.
“Mike’s a big man,” Bowles said of the 6’4″, 332-pounder. “He’s had a good spring, a very good spring. And he’s into it. If it continues in pads, he’ll have a future here.”
The personable Pennel hears the compliments from outside and in, and he smiles. But he lets them roll off his broad back.
“To be honest, I kind of shut myself off from outside influences my second year into the league,” he said. “My mom reads a lot of the stories and comments, she always sends me stuff, and I tell her, don’t send me that. It doesn’t matter to me. I just want to stay even keel.”
The good ship Pennel has brought him further east from his Colorado home and his Wisconsin stopover to the Jets, where he’s made a smooth transition to the Green & White and into the still formidable talent in the D-line room.
“Everybody’s been so welcoming here, giving me everything I need, and I’m just trying to take advantage of all that,” he told me after the last practice of minicamp. “I feel like I can be another piece to the defense. We already have great playmakers, and I have a veteran nose tackle I can learn from. Whenever…
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