The Nine

Jordan Jenkins perseveres through Jets’ massive losing


Losing seasons expose the weak as much as they identify the strong.

Jordan Jenkins?

He’s strong.

The Jets’ 26-year-old linebacker, stunningly the longest-tenured player on the roster as he readies to play his 72nd game with the team Sunday against the Raiders at MetLife Stadium, embodies what a pro is supposed to embody.

Jenkins is always available, he plays hurt, he’s the same person every day. And he never complains. Even when his team is 0-11. Even when, after winning 40 and losing 13 in four years of college at Georgia, he’s 21-54 with the Jets.

Five years into his NFL career and Jenkins has never experienced a single winning season. And that’s a shame, because this is a player who deserves more, deserves better than that based on his commitment and production.

Jenkins probably should have missed games earlier this season with a shoulder injury. He did not. He played on, the injury curtailing his production for a couple of weeks.

What drives him at 0-11 with little hope on the horizon and with five games remaining on his contract before he faces free-agency uncertainty?

Jordan Jenkins (48) and Quinnen Williams
Jordan Jenkins (48) and Quinnen Williams
Getty Images

“Honestly, it’s a pride thing to me,’’ Jenkins told The Post. “It’s something I grew up with my dad [Ronald] in the Army for 22 years. I had that military upbringing and I was taught that no matter what you do, if you’re going to do something, you commit to it and don’t ever have any regrets about it.

“If you’re going to say you’re a man, you’ve got to go out there and do what a man does: That’s to continue on and no matter what happens, you’ve got to fight through this stuff. I play hurt until something’s broken.’’

His coach, Adam Gase, was quick to concur when asked on Friday about Jenkins.

“I’m not sure I’ve been around many players that are tougher — just flat-out tougher — than him,’’ Gase said. “You saw the guy earlier in the season with his shoulder out of place and he pops it back in, comes off for like a play and runs back out there. The guy is an absolute beast as far as his mindset of not wanting to come out of games, constantly just being that guy to rely on.

“When things get really, really tough, he’s a guy you can turn to and you know he’s going to be standing right next to you.’’

When most players, with a half-torn shoulder and in the midst of an historic losing season, would opt to shut it down, Jenkins has powered on.

“That guy is old-school,’’ Gase said. “You’re going to have to saw off a limb for him not to be out there. It’s how he grew up. It’s how he was raised. If you know his background, it’s who he is. When you dig into his background, it all makes sense why he is who he is.’’

Jenkins has never been in the military, as his dad was from 1985 to 2007 when he retired as a Master Sergeant. But he lives his life in military values, something that makes his father proud.

“It’s definitely been taxing on him,’’ Ronald Jenkins told The Post on Friday. “Nobody wants to lose. It wears on him and it wears on us. Even as parents, the losing is brutal on all of us. And, when you’ve come from winning programs every place you’ve been to like Jordan has, and now you’re fighting not to tie the NFL record of zero wins, it’s frustrating.’’

Jordan speaks to his father usually after games. And his father’s message always is the same.

“You’ve just got to keep fighting through it,’’ Ronald Jenkins said. “You can only do your part — be a leader and try to motivate your teammates. But you can’t play offense, you can’t play other positions that are not your own. You’ve just got to keep doing things the right way.’’

Say whatever you want about Jenkins — who entered this season with 15 sacks in the previous two seasons (eight last season and seven in 2018) and has two sacks, a forced fumble, six quarterback hits and 28 tackles this season — but he does things the right way.

Jenkins, a free agent after last season, had offers to play elsewhere, but none of them blew him away. So, he took less money ($1.5 million) to return to the Jets. Does he want to be back with the Jets for a sixth season?

“I try not to think about all the contract stuff,’’ Jenkins said. “You never want to leave. You get comfortable being with one team.’’

Jenkins, as an Army kid, was born Houston, moved to South Carolina, then to Alaska, then to California, to Washington and finally to Georgia. So, it would make sense that he’d prefer to stay in one place.

“He’d love to win in New York,’’ Ronald Jenkins said.

Jordan Jenkins, perhaps more than anyone on the Jets roster, deserves to win in New York.

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