EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been trying to keep his focus on football since the body of a 25-year-old friend was found in his New Jersey home last month.
Jenkins’ brother, William H. Jenkins, was charged with aggravated manslaughter days after the body of Roosevelt Rene was found in the football player’s Fair Lawn home on June 26.
Addressing the media on Sunday for the first time about the death, Jenkins said he has not spoken to his brother since he was arrested by New York State Police late last month. He reiterated that he was not in the house when Rene died.
“My main focus has always been football,” Jenkins said. “Things that happened, I can’t control, because I wasn’t there. Just coming back, being with my team, just being excited to be there. … I haven’t talked to (his brother), but I will, see where his head was at, and as far as that, I’ll leave it at that. It’s shocking. But, you know, I’ve still got to come and play football.”
Janoris Jenkins, who is entering his third season with the Giants after signing a five-year, $62.5 million contract as a free agent, refused to say much else about the incident.
“It is difficult but at the end of the day you have to be a pro,” Janoris said. “Things are going to happen in life. Some things you can’t control and this is one of those situations.”
Jenkins has been focused since the Giants starting practicing four days ago. He had an interception on the first day.
“It doesn’t make me feel like I am ready,” Jenkins said. “It makes me feel like I am taking steps to being ready. Like, I said continuing to work, getting better and being there for my team.”
Like the Giants (3-13), Jenkins struggled last season. He was suspended for a game for violating team rules in late October and eventually had his season end in late November by an ankle injury that required surgery.
Jenkins said he spent the offseason strengthening his ankle and he is excited about the 3-4 defense that new coordinator James Bettcher has installed.
“It’s aggressive, lets players play a little and not be robots,” Jenkins said, adding he also has been impressed with the new business-like attitude that fellow cornerback Eli Apple has displayed so far.
Jenkins also is enjoying the opportunity to play against star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in practice every day.
“It just feels good because you know you can compete in practice against a top receiver,” said Jenkins, who has 16 interceptions in six seasons. “Me and him going at it every day; he is going to win, I am going to win. He might win the whole day, I might win. But it is only getting us better.”
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