FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The banged-up New York Jets received a boost on the practice field Sunday as linebacker Avery Williamson and tight ends Ryan Griffin and Daniel Brown participated in team drills.
Williamson (knee) and Griffin (ankle) opened training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, while Brown (ankle) was on the non-football injury list. The three were activated Saturday and took part in individual drills. They completed their comebacks Sunday by going through a few team drills for the first time this summer.
“It was great to see Avery and Ryan Griffin and Dan Brown out there, being able to participate in team periods and individuals and doing a little more and taking reps off some of the other guys,” coach Adam Gase said. “It was really good to see Avery out there moving around after not having (done so) for a year, so it’ll be good to see him progress through this.”
Williamson was hurt in the Jets’ second preseason game last year when he was still on the field with mostly backups in the second quarter. Cornerback Tevaughn Campbell dived to defend a pass into the end zone and hit into Williamson’s right knee, and the linebacker ended up having a torn ACL — and his season was over.
On Sunday, Williamson was at his usual middle linebacker spot for a few snaps during the Jets’ 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
“It felt really good,” Williamson said. “No pain. I wasn’t even really worried about my knee. I was just making sure I was doing everything right. I’m feeling healthy, man. That’s the main thing.”
Williamson will be an important part of coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense this season, particularly after C.J. Mosley opted out because of family health concerns. Williamson, entering his third season with New York, is expected to be a primary signal caller on defense.
“I think he’s got confidence in how he worked, and now it’s just really getting that feel back,” Gase said. “In those first few snaps in 7-on-7 (drills), it’s been a while since he’s been out there with receivers and guys moving around and formations, the calls. Today was a great first step for him.”
Griffin was hurt last December against Miami in Week 14 after developing a solid rapport with quarterback Sam Darnold. The tight end earned a contract extension from the Jets after catching 34 passes for 320 yards and five touchdowns.
He’s expected to pair with Chris Herndon this year to give New York a dual receiving threat from the tight end spot. Griffin expects to gradually increase his snaps during team drills over the next several days.
“I felt really good, really confident out there,” a smiling Griffin said. “I’m coming back slowly, but I’m looking forward to getting all of my reps back and getting ready for Week 1.”
Griffin credited the Jets’ strength and conditioning staff for helping further his rehabilitation during the pandemic. Unable to go to a gym or physical therapy center, Griffin was provided equipment by the team to use as a makeshift workout center in his home garage in Houston.
“He’s reliable in the passing game, he finds a way to get open, extreme competitor,” Gase said. “He’s as tough as they get.”
Brown had seven catches for 72 yards and a TD last season, and is one of the Jets’ top special teams performers. He injured an ankle in the offseason, but appeared to move well during drills Sunday.
“It’s tough not being out there when camp starts because you feel like you’re kind of losing reps and stuff like that,” Brown said. “It’s felt good the past couple of days to feel like I’m part of the team again and get some reps.”
OTHER INJURIES: WR Breshad Perriman sat out with a knee issue, but Gase believes it’s minor and Perriman could return to the field Monday. … OL Chuma Edoga injured a calf, but Gase thinks that is also not serious. … Tests on LB Patrick Onwuasor’s injured knee revealed no torn ligaments after he was hurt Saturday. “We’re kind of still in the evaluation stage as far as figuring out how long he’ll be out, if anything needs to be done,” Gase said. … WR Denzel Mims (hamstring), CB Pierre Desir (hamstring), RB Josh Adams (hamstring), WR Vyncint Smith (core muscle), OL Conor McDermott (knee), DL John Franklin-Myers (groin), S Matthias Farley (hamstring), LB James Burgess (lower back) and DL Jabari Zuniga (quadriceps) all sat out.
NOTES: Practice got feisty during one stretch as LB Jordan Jenkins threw a few punches at G Alex Lewis. “He was doing some jujitsu moves out there,” Williamson joked of Jenkins. “Stay away from him.” Lewis also got into a shoving match with LB Neville Hewitt, and Jenkins and G Greg Van Roten shouted at each other. ”Spirited practice, to say the least,” Gase said. “It seems like tempers were flaring a little bit, but that’s what’s going to happen sometimes when we’re doing a lot of running the football and then the big guys start getting a little irritated with each other.”
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