That’s how many days it’s been since I last ran out of the tunnel of MetLife Stadium in the regular season and I couldn’t be more excited for Sunday.
It feels like both yesterday and forever ago that I was on the turf not knowing what had just happened. I knew it was more than a stinger, but I wasn’t sure what it was.
The first couple days after the injury were scary because of the unknown. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what the recovery was like. I didn’t know if I could play football again. Once I met with the doctor, he explained everything to me and reassured me. From then on, it was go time.
I was probably the most annoying guy in the training room. I think I gave the guys a headache, but shoutout to John Mellody and his staff. Every month represented a different milestone in my recovery: run, run full speed, put a helmet on, and then finally, play.
When the doctor fully cleared me in July, I called my fiancée and my parents to let them know. The next day, I was in the training room itching to go. I said, “Let’s take off the restrictions. The doctor said I’m good. I’m ready to go, so let’s go.” They’re probably happy I’m not there bothering them anymore.
When I first got back, it felt like a different team than what I remembered. I wasn’t around often when I was hurt, so a lot of the faces were new to me. They didn’t know anything about me, who I was and what I’m about. I had to earn their trust. Once I was able to show everyone what I could do, I felt more comfortable being around the team. But at first, I had some work to do.
Representing the team at midfield Monday night was special for me. I’ve come so far. To get that recognition from my teammates meant, and still means, a lot to me. We have confidence in ourselves, but when the people around you are confident in you, it makes it hard to go out there and be afraid.
Sunday is definitely going to be loud and I know it’ll be exciting, but I try not to think about it too much. I try to stay as grounded as possible because those types of things can get me way more excited than I want to be (don’t get me wrong, I’m still pumped). My family is going and I can’t wait to feed off the crowd. I’m pretty high on energy on gamedays, but the fans roaring add an extra boost.
While I’ve come a long way since last August, we as a team have a long way to go. I’m really excited for this season. This team is a lot different than any team we’ve had in a while. Our focus is on another level and our talent is on another level. This year, you can expect big things from us because we expect big things from ourselves. We’re tired of what’s been going on and tired of what the story of the Jets has been.
We’re going to change that narrative.