Out of the Hunt

Mark Sanchez and Wayne Hunter

When Rex Ryan held a private meeting with starting right tackle Wayne Hunter on Wednesday, the 31-year-old veteran had a feeling his days in the Jets' starting lineup were over.

The New York Jets fan base is finally going to get what they've wanted for so long.

In a move that many saw coming, starting tackle Wayne Hunter has been relegated to the benched following a conversation with head coach Rex Ryan early Thursday morning. Hunter was noticeably distraught following the news but elected to speak with the media nonetheless.

"I wasn't surprised, remarked Hunter of his benching. "I was waiting for it to be honest with you. "I knew I was struggling. Everything was kind of going south for me, but at the same time I still wanted to help the team in any way possible."

Hunter will be moved from the right tackle position to tight end, playing behind starter Dustin Keller and becoming the sixth man off the bench. Hunter is no stranger to the position, having had success there during the 2010 season.

"Right now, the best move for me is to move to a spot where I was dominant, comfortable and confident, at the Jumbo tight end spot."

Hunter's struggles at tackle date back to last season, where the Jets diehard fans labeled him the scapegoat of a year-end collapse. Hunter struggled with his blocks and keeping quarterback Mark Sanchez on his feet. The situation reached its boiling point in the final week of the season where receiver Santonio Holmes and Hunter got into a verbal confrontation in front of 75,000 fans in the Miami Dolphins Sun Life Stadium.

Hunter admitted to reporters that his demotion didn't come as a shock, but as his poor performances piled up, he became numb to the outside world.

"This goes back to last year. If I don't show signs of improvement when the bullets are flying, they have to make a choice," said Hunter. "They have to pick the best 11 guys to go on the field and right now."

Austin Howard will start in Hunter's place at right tackle Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers. By: TwitterButtons.com

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