He winced a few times as it happened before he finally set the record straight.
“When y'all were calling me Janoris, I almost got upset,” he said.
One of the Tennessee Titans’s newest members, Janoris Jenkins, would rather reporters – and others – address him as “Jackrabbit” instead.
“I have been going by that since I entered the league,” the free-agent cornerback added.
The nine-year veteran, who agreed to terms with the Titans on Tuesday five days after being released from the New Orleans Saints, spoke to local media members for the first time on Friday afternoon, shortly after the team formally announced his addition.
Other than his name preference, Jenkins gave insight into what Titans fans ought to know about him ahead in anticipation of the 2020-21 season.
Experience matters: The 32-year-old Pro Bowler has played in 128 games with 125 starts over 10 NFL seasons. A second-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, he spent his first four seasons with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, the next four with the New York Giants and the last two seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
The Titans recently released three veteran defensive backs, cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, as well as safety Kenny Vaccaro. Jenkins becomes the eldest member of Tennessee's secondary.
No doubt, his experience will be a benefit for younger players, safety Amani Hooker and especially cornerback Krisian Fulton, who enters his second NFL season.
“You get excited,” Jenkins said. “...I just showed up, played football, made sure the younger guys knew what was going on and they have confidence. That’s what I am here for. We’re going to have fun.”
He just wants to win: Jenkins loves playing man-to-man defense. It’s his preference. But he can also play zone, he said.
Most importantly, though, Jenkins wants to make plays, have fun and win games.
High-impact play-making ability is something the Titans so obviously lacked this past season on the defensive side of the ball. Jenkins has made plenty of those types of plays.
Among NFL players since 2012, Jenkins ranks first in passes defended (119), first in defensive touchdowns scored (9) and fourth in interceptions (26).
“I like to win,” Jenkins said. “If you looked at my background, high school and college, all I did was win. Every level, I like to compete that’s what I am here for.”
Jenkins won a state championship while playing for Pahokee High School in Florida. He attended the University of Florida for three years and won plenty of games and a national championship under a program that at the time was coached by the legendary Urban Meyer, who now coaches the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bigger is not always better: Many people often feel apprehensive about signing veteran corners. Entering his 10th NFL season, Jenkins surely has put a lot of miles throughout his successful NFL career.
The good news is that he has it down when it comes to staying in shape.
“Always being available. Make sure you’re healthy and available,” Jenkins said. “Doing the small things. You don’t have to do in the weight room and lift 300, 400 pounds. Just keep the small muscles around your body active, and you’ll be okay.”