For a guy who broke his right leg not even four weeks ago and who now has to go through the anguish of rehabbing the injury while watching his teammates go to battle without him, Leon Washington looked pretty good today.
In fact, he looked and sounded a lot like Neon Leon, except without the change of direction.
"Physically, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm right on target," the Pro Bowl running back/kick returner said in his first interview with reporters since
f the prognosis he received from the Jets' doctors of a six-to-12-month rehab period from his bad break. "Each week I'm feeling better and better, getting a lot more mobility."
Mentally, Washington said, he's fine as well.
"I've gotten back in touch with my faith," he said. "I'm feeling very good."
Washington came into the media room at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on crutches to talk with reporters for the first time since suffering a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula on his first carry in the first quarter against the Raiders. His gear was Jets practice garb all the way, from his backward baseball cap to the Jets sweats to the white sneakers — make that sneaker, since the right leg was sheathed in a cast.
He spoke with the beat reporters and then took questions on camera, including from Eric Allen for newyorkjets.com. He told EA he's been plenty busy around the complex.
"I'm just rehabbing," Washington said. "I'm seeing my teammates, watching them come through. The guys have been very supporting. There's been so much love from them, in particular from the running backs, Thomas [Jones], Tony [Richardson] and Shonn [Greene].
"I'm just rehabbing and getting everything back into order. Dr. [Ken] Montgomery and [head trainer] John Mellody, they've been very surprised at how well I'm moving around."
There'll be no regrets at placing Leon on injured reserve too quickly or anything like that. But Washington said his aim is to be back in the swing closer to six months than 12.
"Right now I'm on target, I'm doing everything the right way," he said. "My goal is that when we get back in March, I want to be moving around pretty good. That'll be right around six months," he said, referring to the start of the Jets' off-season strength and conditioning program.
Reporters asked him the big football/business question, whether he had any regrets about not agreeing to a new contract before the start of this season. Leon answered without hesitation.
"One thing with the business side of football is that it's risk and reward. I knew coming into the season that it was a risk. That being said, things happen for a reason," he said. "No regrets, not at all. If I could do it all over again, I'd do the same thing. Football is a sport we play professionally. If we didn't get paid for it, I'd still be playing it."
Besides rehabilitation, he's being kept busy with his home life. There's his fiancée, Charity, and his sons, Leon and Noel. He revealed during his interview with EA his revised wedding plans.
"We were going to get married in June. We've moved it up to Dec. 19. We're excited about that. Then we're going to Puerto Rico," he said. "She's the love of my life. The moment I met her I knew she was the one. And with this injury, she's really been so supportive of me, I think more than anyone else. So I just wanted to show her my gratitude and push the date up so we can go ahead and make this thing for life."
He also wanted to remind Jets fans that we haven't seen the last of No. 29 on the field.
"I miss being on the football field. You guys know how hard I work," Washington said to the camera. "I will do everything in my power and my faith to get back to where I was, coming up to 2010."