NEW YORK — Despite rushing for a career-high 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009 — his third straight 1,000-yard season with the Jets — Thomas Jones, 31, was officially shown the door after declining to rework his contract for next season.
On Monday, according to Newsday, the Jets told Jones they will release him Friday, the first day of the league year for the 2010 season. The Jets also will release cornerback Lito Sheppard, acquired last year in a trade with the Eagles.
"Thomas joined us three years ago and has been a productive, passionate leader both on and off the field who has served as a positive influence for our younger players," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement. "We were fortunate to acquire Thomas and wish him the best."
Jones played for the Bucs in 2003 but got only three starts and had 627 yards rushing with three touchdowns. In the six seasons since, with the Bears then Jets, Jones has averaged 1,221 yards and 8.3 touchdowns.
Jones was due to earn a $3 million roster bonus next Tuesday and an additional $2.8 million in base salary.
BEARS: Offensive tackle Orlando Pace was waived after one season in which the 34-year-old, the No. 1 overall draft pick out of Ohio State in 1997, played little like the All-Pro he once was with St. Louis.
49ERS: The team tendered offers to two restricted free agents, linebacker Ahmad Brooks and offensive lineman David Baas. San Francisco can match any offer sheet or receive a second-round draft pick as compensation.
STEELERS: A judge dismissed charges of simple assault and resisting arrest against kicker Jeff Reed, who was accused of raising his fists at a Pittsburgh police officer when ordered back in his vehicle as police dealt with a teammate. The two misdemeanor charges dismissed by state District Judge Richard King at Reed's preliminary hearing were the most serious he faced.