Carl Lawson was back on the practice field for the first time in 11 months on Wednesday.
The Jets defensive end tore his Achilles tendon last August in a joint practice with the Packers in Green Bay. He missed the entire season, spending it rehabbing.
“It was horrible,” Lawson said of the last year. “It is what it is. You grow stronger from it, but of course it was tough. I knew I was going to come out on top. You kind of build a callus and keep working and keep the process.”
Lawson was part of a heavy rotation on the defensive line in his first practice back. The Jets surely will hold back Lawson in training camp and let him ramp up as the regular season approaches.
“Carl, he’s a freak,” coach Robert Saleh said. “His work ethic… I’m telling you he was ready to practice in OTAs. We have to protect Carl from Carl in terms of the amount of work that he’s going to do, because he won’t stop unless we tell him to stop. We’re excited to have him back.”
Lawson said it is not important to him to play in preseason games as long as he gets enough work in practice. He said he has never had any doubts about returning and that he learned from past injuries — two ACL tears — that he can come back stronger than he was before.
The Jets are counting on Lawson to spark their pass rush. He was having a tremendous camp last year before the injury.
The Jets added a fourth quarterback before camp opened, signing Chris Streveler. The 27-year-old played two seasons for the Cardinals, appearing in seven games and two years in the Canadian Football League prior to that. The Jets already have three quarterbacks with Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco and Mike White, but Saleh said they felt they needed another to take some reps.
“They throw the ball so darn much,” Saleh said. “Giving another man opportunity to play in those fourth quarters of preseason games and showcase what they’ve got. Just another opportunity to get a gentleman in here and give him a chance to compete.”
Many players were wearing “Guardian Caps” on their helmets Wednesday. The soft shell goes over helmets and is meant to better absorb impact in hopes to cut down on concussions. The NFL mandated that linemen, tight ends and linebackers must wear them in practice through the second preseason game (not in games).