After lost season with Jets, Colon not ready for retirement

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Willie Colon watched his friend D'Brickashaw Ferguson walk away from football, capped by a celebration of a terrific 10-year career at the New York Jets' facility.

Retirement might be fine for Ferguson. Not so much for Colon. Not yet, anyway.

''The fire and the want-to to play the game is still very much bright and fiery in my heart,'' Colon said Thursday after Ferguson's retirement news conference.

''Now, we all know your body might have a different answer for you, but I'm going to exhaust all options and squeeze the limit out of me and if I can't get back on the field, I'm OK with that.

''But I can't go to bed at night knowing I didn't absolutely exhaust every option given to me out there.''

Colon turned 33 last Saturday and was limited to just six games last season after going on injured reserve last November because of a chronic knee injury. He's also without a contract as a free agent, but hasn't ruled out a return to the Jets.

''I just hope they haven't ruled me out,'' he said. ''I don't mind being Bull Durham, you know, the old guy on the club.''

Colon won the starting right guard job in training camp last summer despite being considered a long shot at first because of his ailing knee. He was replaced by Brian Winters, who was serviceable, but Colon believes he can still be a starting-caliber player in the league.

His knees feel good again, he said, and he has gotten some calls from other NFL teams.

''But, it's more just window shopping,'' Colon said.

He spent his first seven seasons with Pittsburgh and has a Super Bowl ring from the Steelers' win over Arizona in 2009. Still, Colon isn't ready to call it a career.

''I absolutely love the game of football, and sometimes, oddly enough, more than myself,'' he said. ''It's given me so much. Brick has motivated me to be honest with my situation and myself and take an honest approach with what I want to do.''

And, for Colon, that means giving himself at least one more chance to continue his playing career. He was a fourth-rounder out of Hofstra in 2006, the same year the Jets selected Ferguson with the No. 4 overall pick.

''Me and Brick are two different animals, built different, but what we do have similar is that we take a lot of pride in our work,'' Colon said. ''We're passionate about the game and we also understand that we can only play this game so long.''

NOTES: Jets owner Woody Johnson said it's not imperative that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick re-sign for New York to be successful this season. Fitzpatrick and the Jets are locked in a contract stalemate that has the team's quarterback situation uncertain with the NFL draft just two weeks away. ''I think this is a big team,'' Johnson said. ''We've made our statements regarding Ryan Fitzpatrick well-known, and I'll stick with those that we've made.'' Both coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan have said they would like Fitzpatrick back, and at the recent owners' meeting, Johnson was asked what he'd say to the free-agent quarterback. ''Come back to the Jets,'' Johnson said then. While several of Ferguson's current and former teammates attended the news conference, Fitzpatrick was not there. ... Johnson had no update on the contract situation with DE Muhammad Wilkerson, who received the franchise tag. Wilkerson is seeking a long-term contract extension, but he could also be traded. ... OT Ben Ijalana, who served as Ferguson's backup last season, was re-signed to a one-year deal after agreeing to terms last week.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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