For 23 days, Kenrick Ellis was no longer a NFL player. Instead, he was part of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Corrections for what he called his “situation.”
Last month, Ellis served 23 days of a 45-day prison sentence stemming from a 2010 fight while he was playing at Hampton University. Ellis served the first half of his split sentence for an altercation which took place on university grounds this offseason and after the NFL season, will report to serve the last 22 days for his felony malicious wounding charge.
“Definitely, I was in there. I am remorseful for what I did. I’m happy I got that chapter over. It was 23 days and I’m back out to contribute to help the Jets this year,” Ellis said. “Mentally, it was a tough part. I just read a couple books and tried to keep my mind off the situation and looking forward to getting back out there, working again.”
Ellis said that the biggest boost he received in prison was visits from the Jets organization. Head coach Rex Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson all made separate visits to the team’s third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
“The coaching staff really helped me out a lot,” Ellis said. “A couple of the guys came in to see me and that really, really helped me to know that I’m part of the Jets organization and I’m going to work as hard as I can to contribute.”
Ellis reported to prison after the team’s minicamp ended in mid-June and said “after this season, I have to face that part again.” He had a couple weeks after his prison time to get in shape which he spent largely at TEST Sports Clubs in Martinsville, N.J. working out with teammates Bart Scott, Kyle Wilson, Vlad Ducasse, Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller among others.
“After the situation, I went back to New Jersey, get back into the swing of things. I went down to TEST Sports, working there. Doing to mixed martial arts boxing with Bart,” Ellis said. “I worked out for two weeks and I’m happy to be back.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer as he provides live pictures and updates from training camp practices in Cortland.