James Dearth and His Tough 2009

The other week I received my most recent issue of Jets Confidential, a day which I look forward to, and when I get it, I admit I jump right into the “Media Whispers” section.

In the most recent issue, Dan Leberfeld writes about a number of interesting pieces, but this one stuck out to me. James Dearth, the team’s very steady long-snapper, who’s basically never been questioned about his ability by either of his previous coaches, came under some more close scrutiny this past season from Rex Ryan. It was a shock to me to hear the coach place blame on the team’s long-snapper, who’s been so rock-steady since 2001.

Leberfeld explains

Not to make excuses for him, but if you knew about his family situation, you could understand why he was a little distracted. We reached out to a writer who is very close to Dearth to get a feel for what was going on in the life of the Texan.

“Dearth went through a whole bunch of stuff with the family, including his mother suddenly passing away,” the reporter said. “His dad has been really sick for a while, and his mom’s health deteriorated quickly because of the stress. So he was worried about them, and then she died. So Dearth had his dad flown up to N.J. to stay with him and it just didn’t work out. His father is back in Texas and getting cared for there. He told me it was a lot to handle, mentally.”

And this was all going on during the season …

We’re sorry to hear that for the Dearths and wish them our heartfelt condolences.

The New York Times had an article about this story that I missed during the season. Here’s a quote from Westhoff about Dearth from November.

“If you want to talk about a team player, he should have his picture next to that phrase in some book,” Westhoff said. “I’ve coached for 30 years, and rarely do you find someone who gets the absolute maximum out of what he has every single day. If anyone has the perseverance to pull through tough times, believe me, it’s James Dearth.”

The team player won the team’s Kyle Clifton “Good Guy” Award for 2009, and while he’s a free agent right now, you can see why he might have had a shaky 2009. I do hope that the Jets bring him back, and if he does come back, I hope he can revert to his normal form.

But for those of you who love to get little nuggets like this, we really can’t recommend the work that Leberfeld does via Scout.com and his publication, Jets Confidential enough. There’s a lot of little bits and bites like this.