Updated: 2:10 p.m. ET*
The New York Jets have re-signed veteran guard Willie Colon.
After first joining the Green & White one year ago, signing as an unrestricted free agent on March 16, 2013, Colon went on to start all 16 games at right guard, playing in all but 13 of our offensive snaps the entire season.
"Ultimately, this is where I wanted to be," the 30-year-old Hofstra University product and Bronx, NY native told newyorkjets.com. "I'm home-grown and finishing here was important to me. To be in this situation and to sign back on is a blessing."
Colon (6'3", 315) helped pave the way for Jets runners as they finished second in the AFC with 2,158 yards on the ground during the regular season. RBs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell both set career highs in rushing yards with 833 and 697 respectively.
And the O-line ended the season on a high note in pass blocking, too. QB Geno Smith was not sacked in either of our two final games, the victories over Cleveland and at Miami.
Making that nugget even more impressive though is the fact that Colon ruptured his right biceps muscle in that season finale against the Dolphins. It was the fourth consecutive season that he found himself injured in December, having been designated to IR in 2010, '11 and '12 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As such, he felt that the Jets and many other teams wanted to let him "go through the rehab process" before negotiating a deal.
"The reality of it is getting hurt four times in a row so to speak, doesn't make you the most attractive guy on the market," Colon said, "but a lot of teams respected me, respected the way I play, love what I bring to the table. They know how tough I am, they know I'm a brawler.
"I feel great," he added. "I feel real good. Rehab's going really well and all arrows are pointing up, so it's a matter of just getting back."
Colon has started every game he's played in (78) during his eight-year NFL career since being selected by the Steelers in the fourth round of the '06 draft and has a ring from Super Bowl XLIII for his efforts.
Of course, he will no longer be the only Super Bowl champion on the right side of the Jets' offensive line after the Jets signed RT Breno Giacomini, the Seattle Seahawks' unrestricted free agent right, to replace Austin Howard.
"Obviously it's sad that we lost Austin, I think he and I had a great rapport on the right side and we played well together, but I'm excited to meet the new guy we got," Colon said. "From what I hear, he's a bruiser just like me so it's going to be exciting."
The return of Colon means Giacomini will be the only new face among the five offensive line starters for the Jets next season. T D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold will enter their ninth seasons at their respective positions, while last year's third-round pick G Brian Winters will return for his sophomore season in the NFL.
Before too long, it will once again be time to get back to the grind, but for now, Willie Colon is simply happy to be a Jet.
"It is a sigh of relief because every day you wake up to the NFLAM's and the ESPN's and you see guys going left and right," he said, "guys who have been with organizations for so long getting shipped all over the country, and to kind of put my feet where I want to be and be blessed in this position is kind of a monkey off my back. Now it's all about going to work from here on and getting better physically, sharpening my mind mentally, and just getting ready for the season all over again."