Kevin O’Dea didn’t waste any time getting started as the special teams coach for the New York Jets.
Head coach Eric Mangini called to tell him Tuesday he was hiring him, that the contract would be signed in Indianapolis at the combine. O’Dea, who assisted Bears special teams coach Dave Toub the past two seasons, got some congratulatory calls from long snapper Pat Mannelly, punter Brad Maynard and kicker Robbie Gould, and was out the door to the combine.
He interviewed kickers, punters and long snappers tonight at the combine, getting back to his hotel room after 11 in Indianapolis. He’ll be driving to New York from there on Friday.
O’Dea, who previously was the special teams coach in Arizona, joked he wished he could take Devin Hester with him. He’s got a very talented returner to work with there in Leon Washington, who replaced Pro Bowler Justin Miller after he was injured. The Jets finished ranked 13th in special teams in 2007.
``It’s going to be great,’’ he said. ``This is why you get into the business.’’
O’Dea cannot have Hester, but he could have two-time Pro Bowl special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo, who will be a free agent in a little more than a week. Mangini has to be familiar with him as well from the time Ayanbadejo spent previously in the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins.
``We’ll see what happens,’’ O’Dea said. ``I don’t even know where we’re at in terms of free agency. It’s all happening very quickly and I’m behind the eight ball right now.’’