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Competition at Right Tackle Energizes and Challenges George Fant

Jets Signing of Veteran Moses Morgan Add Depth and Smarts to O-Line


George Fant wasted no time and has no time to waste.

The Jets veteran offensive tackle was placed on the reserve/COVID list July 27, then was cleared to jump right back into the fire in the Green & White practice on Saturday night -- his first practice since the start of training camp.

"I feel pretty good right now," he told reporters at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Monday. "I got one shot, then caught COVID in between that and the second shot. Stuff happens. I thought I was just having a reaction to the shot, like everyone else. I didn't feel great the day of the shot and the day after not too good."

But with a gym in his house, Fant (6-5, 325) was able to lift weights and work on his conditioning as he was forced to bide his time away from his teammates.

He will now compete against the newly signed OT Morgan Moses, a guy Fant met early in his NFL career -- which is now in its sixth season.

"Obviously it's an opportunity to add to the team a good player, a veteran to add to our room," Fant said. "I'm happy to have him here. It's what this game's all about. I've been in this league, I was a basketball player who went undrafted. I've competed my whole career. This is just another step in my growth as a player and a person."

"It's cool," he said of the team's signing of Moses. "I met Mo a while back training in Miami. Even then I was the younger guy, in the league a couple of years. I leaned on him then, we learned a lot from each other. It's cool to have that relationship. The guys joke around that we look alike. We always compete. That's just how it goes."

Fant was referring to his days as a four-year basketball star at Western Kentucky. Many of his teammates and friends urged him to also play football, but Fant demurred until he was persuaded to use his fifth year of eligibility to play for the Hilltoppers football team. He saw limited action as a tight end. But during Western Kentucky's pro day ahead of the NFL Draft in 2016, Fant was listed as an offensive lineman. He caught the attention of Seahawks' co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, was worked out as DE, DT, OT and TE and was signed after that single workout.

In his four previous NFL seasons, three with Seattle, Fant has played in all but four regular season games (two with the Seahawks, two last season with the Jets). He was a Jets co-captain last season, starting in 14 games at right tackle. Now he faces the challenge of competition for that starting spot. But Fant is unfazed.

"It is out of my control," he said "I didn't come here last year with it in my mind to let me be a captain. It was chosen by those guys who looked up to me and what I've been through. All I can do is lead by example. Talking is cheap. To me it's about what you can do. It is what this game is about. It is what life is about."

Fant's first practice, back at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night, was a quick re-introduction and head coach Robert Saleh said it was all good.

"First time out and he's just already trying to play a half of football when everyone else kind of had a ramp up," Saleh said. "He gritted it out and we're right there watching him. He fought through it so credit to him."

For his part, Fant said he took it all in stride.

"I've been playing six years now, football is football," he said. "Obviously, the first couple of plays ... I hadn't been in pads since last season. As practice progressed, I got back to myself. You have to be under stress now, I think it's something that you have to put yourself through certain situations so you're prepared.

"You got to be a pro. I've played for a while and consider myself a veteran. I know my stuff. I'm lucky, I had COVID, but I also have my own gym in my house, space to work at home to prepare physically and mentally."

For George Fant, there's no time to waste.

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