Jets DE Lawson (Achilles): I’m ready for camp

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Nine months removed from Operation Achilles, New York Jets defensive end Carl Lawson will not participate in OTA drills later this month, but he expects to be on the field for training camp in late July.

“I think I want to be good at going, but it’s up to the organization and how they want to play it, what they want me to do and stuff like that,” Lawson said Wednesday on a Zoom call with journalists, his first interview since December. “I’m ready to go when my number gets called. Even when I was on one leg, I was ready to go.”

Lawson sprints, according to coach Robert Saleh, but he is still in the final stages of his rehabilitation. The team will be wary of Lawson, their marquee free-agent signing in 2021, meaning there could be a ramp-up period when camp begins.

The Jets had high expectations of Lawson after signing him to a $ 45 million three-year contract, but he tore his Achilles to pieces on Aug. 20 in a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers. He was done before the season started. The defense fought without him and finished in 32nd place in allowed yards, 32nd in scoring and 26th place in sacks.

This is a serious injury to any player, let alone a pass-rusher who relies on first-rate speed, but Lawson is confident he can regain his old form.

“I’ve had major injuries before and I came back better,” said Lawson, who has rebounded from two ACL injuries. “This is different, but I have no plans not to get better than I was … But if I do not, who knows? But I plan to get better than I was.”

Lawson dominated training camp before the injury, and he plans to go to school on that film. That, he believes, will provide a baseline for when he will be back on the field.

“Carl is a monster,” Jets tight-end CJ Uzomah said of his former Bengals and Auburn teammates. “He’s built as an action figure. If you go to Madden and try to build a player, it’s Carl. Playing with him for six years, seven years, no matter how long, he’s just a freak. His departure is incredible., and in my opinion his greatest strength is his strength. To get him back on the field, our defensive line will be really good. “

Perhaps as insurance, the Jets have added a handful of defensive ends, most notably first-round pick Jermaine Johnson II and former Houston Texans pass-rusher Jacob Martin. They also re-signed veteran Vinny Curry, who missed last season due to complications from a blood disease.

Lawson and John Franklin-Myers project as the start ends, where Franklin-Myers has the flexibility to play tackling. Solomon Thomas, an acquisition with free agents, also has versatility inside and out. Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins are the best recurring tackles.

“I think the potential is out of the roof,” Lawson said. “I love this group. There’s a bunch of guys with different backgrounds. It’s going to be a competitive group, so it’ll create fertile ground for absolute monsters.”

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