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Greene relishes spotlight role: 'I'm ready to take that next step'

Players and coaches are prohibited from communicating during the NFL lockout, but Shonn Greene has heard every word of coach Rex Ryan's plans to turn him loose as "bell cow" of the New York Jets' ground attack -- a challenge he welcomes.

"It showed they have a lot of faith in me, and confidence," Greene told *The Star-Ledger* on Sunday. "It made me feel good because they know what I can do and that I'm ready to take that next step."

Ryan first told reporters about his plans for Greene during the 2011 NFL Draft, saying it was time for the third-year back to drive the running game, with LaDainian Tomlinson spelling him on third downs.

"I think he is ready to be that bell cow," Ryan told the newspaper in April.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer echoed those words earlier this month, telling the New York Daily News, "We expect a breakout season from (Greene). He's a guy that's got just huge, huge, huge potential that we think is right there ready for him to grab.

"When Shonn is on his game and running hard, there's not a single defensive player, including linebackers and defensive linemen, that want to see him coming with a full head of steam at them."

Greene has rushed for 1,306 yards on just 293 carries in two seasons with the Jets, sharing responsibilities with Thomas Jones in 2009 and Tomlinson last year, but Schottenheimer said Greene will carry the ball about 20 times per game next season.

"No matter what my situation is going to be with the team, I try to go in as if I'm the No. 1 guy, so I can be prepared for everything," Greene told The Star-Ledger. "Each year I've been with the Jets, I've gone into it knowing all the roles that can happen. I just try to do as much as I can to make sure I'm ready for any situation.

"I'm just trying to do what the team asks of me," Greene said. "I just want to help my team get to that championship game."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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