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Namath Criticizes Jets Players

November 15, 2002

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Broadway Joe had some tough words for his former team.

Joe Namath criticized New York Jets’ players, saying they ``aren’t playing up to the caliber of high-paid guys.″

Namath, who led the Jets to a victory in the 1969 Super Bowl, was surprised to learn the Jets have the highest payroll in the league at $87.3 million, according to the NFL Players’ Association.

``The one thing I know is that the new owner, Woody Johnson, has gone out of his way,″ Namath told the Los Angeles times for Friday editions. ``To pay as much money as he did for the franchise is pretty remarkable. And then to try and keep the nucleus of players he has there by paying them a good buck, he’s really gone out of his way to show that he wants to win.

``I know he wants to win. But the players are just not playing up to the caliber of high-paid guys. It’s ridiculous. For the Jets to have the highest-paid team in the league ... boy, those players ought to thank Mr. Johnson every day of the week a few times.″

Namath was in Los Angeles to talk about an arthritis drug. He did have some praise for the Jets, though.

When asked about quarterback Chad Pennington, Namath said ``he’s a real winner, and that carries a lot of weight.

``I like his attitude. I really like his passing accuracy and his decision making. He’s a smart kid. He knows where to go with the ball in a fast amount of time. He’s the quarterback of the Jets right now, and will be in the near future.″

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