Garay, a Rahway, N.J., native, joins the squad following three-plus productive seasons in San Diego, while Colon grew up in the Bronx, later attended Hofstra, and spent his first seven years in the NFL with Pittsburgh. Both signings were announced by the Jets on Saturday.
“I couldn’t wait to jump at the opportunity to come here and play for the Jets,” Garay told reporters on a conference call this afternoon.
“It’s awesome, it really is,” Colon said. “I’m really humbled that they were able to bring me in and everything worked out well.”
Garay brings experience to the roster and is expected to fill the void left by Mike DeVito, who signed with Kansas City, and Sione Po‘uha, who was released last week. In 2010, Garay led the Chargers defensive lineman with 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks. The next year, he raised his tackle total to 58.
“My role is to go out there and compete,” the 33-year-old said. “They said that they want everyone to come out here, compete for positions. I’m excited for the opportunity to compete. I know I’m going to push myself to limits and I plan on pushing everybody that’s in that D-line room. The best guys will start.”
This isn’t Garay’s first time as part of the franchise. In 2009, he spent seven weeks on the Jets' practice squad. Although his initial stint didn’t result in a spot on the active roster, he is glad with the way things turned out.
“I thought I was going to have an opportunity to eventually play and be a Jet for a long time,” he said looking back. “It didn’t work out that way. San Diego picked me up off the practice squad. I had four great years in San Diego. I have no complaints, no regrets.
“I’ve turned the page in my career. I’m a New York Jet. I’m ecstatic to be here. I’m all about having some fun and the only way we’re going to have fun is by winning.”
Colon understands better than anyone why he was brought in.
“Right now they need help on the line. That's why I'm here,” he said. “Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is promised. I’m just extremely blessed to come home and have a chance to compete for a starting job and that’s what I plan on doing.”
The Super Bowl XLIII champion has played right tackle and left guard during his time in the league. And from his perspective, as long as he’s being effective, it doesn’t matter where he’s being used on the field.
“I don’t put myself in a box,” Colon said. “I consider myself a football player. Any way you need me, I’m going to get it done.”
Both veterans have missed significant time during their careers due to various injuries, but both say they are healthy now.
“My career definitely has not been easy,” Garay said. “But I take on all the challenges. I’ve never hit the eight-ball. I’ve just always been directly behind it.”
Colon added, “It’s been extremely challenging. It’s one of those things that, every time I kind of feel like I got over the hump, it was always something else. I’m a fighter. Anytime you fall off the horse, I’m going to get back on it and ride it. That’s my attitude with anything.”
Both players anticipate special things in 2013 with the Jets and hope they’ll be able to erase the bad memories left from 2012.
“It’s really a new beginning for me,” Colon said. “I’m excited for it. To play for a coach like Rex Ryan and be a part of a winning tradition, I’m just ready to go to work. I know we have talent. We’re going to have new talent and it’s going to be a good time.”
“I’ve been around for a little while,” Garay said. “I plan on having a great year this year. This team plans on having a great year this year. I really don’t care about what happened last year or in the past. It’s all about now and the future.”