Another piece to the puzzle that is the Jets' 2013 season fell into place this morning with the appearance on the practice field of No. 27 in pads.
"Man, it was good to get back out here on the field, get through the drills, get back out there with the team," said Dee Milliner, the Jets first-round pick who reported to SUNY Cortland and signed his contract Monday night. "It felt good the whole time I was out there, just doing what the trainers asked me and just moving on and progressing."
Head trainer John Mellody and his crew didn't have Milliner taking a full load on his first day in pads as a Jet, even though he said he was in great shape (but not yet football shape) from his workouts following his shoulder rehab that took up most of the offseason. Yet he did get some "reps" with the first defense.
"Yeah, I did. I just did a couple of walkthroughs and installs with them, just to get out there so I can get some hands-on and know what I'm doing," he said. "I was just out there with Cro [Antonio Cromartie] and Kyle [Wilson] and all the other veterans just teaching me."
Head coach Rex Ryan said at his daily news conference that Milliner's time will increase over time.
"He hasn't done any hitting, obviously, so we're doing things with J-Mell on the side, you know, our trainers, doing some extensions where he's using his hands and his arms and stuff like that," Ryan said. "And we'll progress him a little bit and then hopefully he'll be able to play in that Green & White Scrimmage."
The scrimmage comes Saturday evening in Cortland Stadium. But Milliner said he's ready to rock. His shoulder feels great and he has no restrictions other than what the trainers put on him.
And he can't wait for his first interception as a Jet or for that first pop of his pads with an offensive player.
"When you've been out away from it for a while, you always want to get back out there and join the team, get back out into hitting," he said. "That's one of the things I like to do, so hopefully I'll get back out there doing that soon."