The New York Jets issued an official statement on Monday, confirming the imminent release of veteran running back Thomas Jones.   The team will sever ties with the 11-year veteran on Friday, the first official day of the NFL’s free agency period

Jones had his finest season as a pro in 2009, rushing for a career-best 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns, but was due a $3.3 million roster bonus this month. The team’s plans to offer long-term extensions to center Nick Mangold and CB Darrelle Revis this offseason, combined with the youth of running backs Shonn Greene and Leon Washington, made the 31-year-old Jones the odd man out.

The Jets will officially cut veteran Thomas Jones on Friday. ( Photo)

“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,” said GM Mike Tannenbaum. “We were fortunate to acquire Thomas and wish him the best.”

“When I got here Thomas immediately became one of my guys,” head coach Rex Ryan said.    “He had one of his best years last season – might have been his best. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and a person. As I said the other day, this is one of the tough decisions we had to make for our organization.”
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