WATCH: Marvin Washington discusses Ronnie Lott’s role as New York Jets mentor

By Matt Fitzgerald
27 Oct 1996: Center Adrian Graham of the Arizona Cardinals guards defensive end Marvin Washington of the New York Jets during a game at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Jets won the game 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport

Former New York Jets defensive end Marvin Washington joined Big Daddy & Friends host Rich Salgado to discuss the impact Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott had once he arrived in the Big Apple, among other compelling topics.

Few may remember this two-year stint toward the end of Lott’s storied career, because it came after he’d already won four Super Bowls as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. However, as Washington recalled in intriguing detail, Lott proved invaluable as a mentor to a franchise struggling to find its footing.

Ronnie Lott built Jets’ camaraderie on and off the field

When Ronnie Lott arrived in the Big Apple ahead of the 1993 NFL season — preceded by two years with the Raiders and a decade in San Francisco — the Jets were coming off a woeful 4-12 campaign. It was especially disappointing since the team had made the playoffs the prior year. Someone needed to take charge of the locker room, and Washington noticed an immediate culture change when Lott entered the fold.

“He taught me how to be a professional football player…he had been with the 49ers, won four Super Bowls,” Washington said. “He came in and showed us another way. A different way.”

Washington was one of the first players to show Lott around his new town and where the other players lived, and the two even hung out “many a days and many a nights — probably too many nights” alongside another prominent teammate in linebacker Mo Lewis.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Jets, check out #TakeFlight rumors, rankings, and news here.

Ronnie Lott, Marvin Washington and Mo Lewis sparked Jets playoff hopes

That trio of Lott, Washington and Lewis from all levels of the defense was instrumental in helping New York double its win total. The 1993 Jets posted an 8-8 record, with Lott racking up a career-high 123 tackles, along with three interceptions and four forced fumbles. Despite dealing with injuries through the end of his playing days, he still had plenty in the tank to set the tone for New York as a respected yet approachable veteran presence.

Unfortunately, a three-game losing streak to end the 1993 season dashed the Jets’ postseason hopes, as the New York offense averaged only seven points per game down the stretch.

Perhaps the 2020 Jets could use some of that leadership and talent infusion Lott brought, as they continue to struggle through a winless season. However, hope is on the horizon, because in all likelihood, the team will fire head coach Adam Gase and hold the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft, wherein a new franchise quarterback could vault New York back into contention.

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