"I'm playing Monday night. ... I'm playing Monday night."
C.J. Mosley made the declarative statement four questions into his news conference following today's practice, repeating his assertion for reporters who maybe thought they didn't hear it right the first time.
"Unless I get hurt or something," Mosley added, "I'm playing."
Considering the Jets have been without their defensive quarterback since the second half of the opener against Buffalo due to his groin strain, the news was welcome. Before practice, head coach Adam Gase wasn't as definitive that his middle 'backer would be back for the Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.
"We're taking it day by day right now. That's the best I can get you," Gase said. "I hope that's the case."
Mosley was listed as DNP — Did Not Practice — today but that pertains only to team drills. Mosley reported that he went through individual drills for the first time since the injury and he plans to "keep ramping it up each day" with perhaps some team drills Friday.
"It felt good, laughing with the guys, being part of the team again," he said. "I did individuals today and everything felt good. I tried to make it as gamelike as possible. Just trying to progress every day."
Those soft-tissue injuries could be among the most frustrating for players who have to visit trainer John Mellody's room, especially for an MLB like Mosley, who thought initially he would make it back for Game 2 vs. Cleveland, only to be disabused of that notion by the Jets' doctors, trainers and coaches as well as his own body.
"It's been annoying, honestly," he said. "You set a timetable up, then you're not ready and you feel like you're having setbacks. But you've got to be patient. I know if I'd tried to get on the field the past couple weeks, I only would've made it worse. So just for me, I have to stay focused, trust the process as far as therapy and training, and eventually getting on the field, doing all the work. It's finally paid off."
No doubt watching the Jets get off their winless schneid with a strong Sunday home win over Dallas helped in Mosley's recovery.
"It was a great team win. Everybody showed up on all phases," he said. "The guys on defense, we did a great job of stopping the run. You hold the No. 1 offense to two touchdowns late, that's a lot of credit for the guys. They put their head down here every day and work and try not to listen to the outside noise. It's bound to pay off in the end."
As poised as the Jets defense held up against the Cowboys, they will certainly welcome back their unrestricted free agent with the big knack for the big play. Before getting hurt breaking up an end zone pass vs. the Bills, Mosley had an interception return for a touchdown and recovered a fumble. That gave him 16 personal takeaways since 2014, tied for the most among all NFL linebackers in that span, even after missing four games, with only the Buccaneers' Lavonte David.
But can Mosley's return help the Jets respond with an even bigger victory on MNF against their division nemeses? Mosley walked the tightrope, likening his team's preparation just a little to his own rehab over the past five weeks.
"You've just got to make sure you don't get too high or too low this week," he said, "and keep going to work like we always do."