SOMERS, N.Y. -- Jimmy Kennedy, one of three Westchester natives playing in the National Football League, is expected to sign Tuesday to play defensive tackle for the New York Giants. During his high school career, he was mentored by Tony DeMatteo, now the varsity football coach in Somers. Kennedy became a free agent earlier this month when he was released by the Minnesota Vikings after the NFL lockout ended.
"I love being close to home," Kennedy told The Daily Westchester Sunday. "It's amazing knowing I'm around people who are rooting for me to suceed. Although I'm extremely focused on my career, it's a blessing to know how close to home I am. The Giants have a game tomorrow (Monday). I will sign Tuesday morning."
Kennedy came out of Roosevelt High in Yonkers. He was a Section 1 All-Star in the late 1990s, playing for Roosevelt’s 1996 Class A state champions. DeMatteo moved on to Somers in 2000 after three decades at the Yonkers high school, where he won more than 200 games.
"It's like a dream having Jimmy back here with the Giants," DeMatteo said. "I've been a Giants fan for 51 years and to have a player I coached playing with my team is amazing. I have been playing phone tag with him, but should talk to him soon. His weight is down to 303 and I can't wait to see him play."
Westchester's other representatives in the NFL are both from New Rochelle. Ray Rice is a running back for the Baltimore Ravens and Courtney Greene plays defensive back for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kennedy first reported his intention to sign with the Giants in a Facebook post Friday. “Thanks to all my friends and fans who support me,” said Kennedy, a 31-year-old free agent who was released by the Minnesota Vikings in July. “I decided to return to my home town. Love you guys.”
Kennedy, who was the No. 1 pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2003 NFL Draft, said he had been working out during the recent NFL lockout and reported that he had his weight down to 301 pounds.
“I had a great workout with the Giants,” Kennedy said Wednesday. "I'm between 303 and 310 pounds and ready to go."