Jets center Nick Mangold described his recent weekend trip to London as an "eye-opening experience."
The 6'4'' 307-pounder returned to Jets practice this morning after having been away cheering on his sister, Holley, as she performed in weightlifting at the Olympics on Sunday.
Holley finished 10th in the event due to suffering a right wrist injury in the snatch portion of the competition.
"Holley did great, battled through an injury and was 10th in the world," Mangold said. "I can't argue with that. I'm very proud of her."
Mangold decided to make the trip at the last minute. As a matter of fact, just days prior to his sister's competition he said he wouldn't be attending because he didn't want to let his teammates down. He admitted he always had a desire to make the trip to support his sister and that head coach Rex Ryan from the beginning had stressed for him to be there. But Mangold's mind wasn't totally set on going until he received a blessing from his teammates.
"Rex can tell me it's OK to go," Mangold said, "but if all 80 guys are staring at me with disgust, that's not a good thing. I wanted to clarify it with them first."
The trip was nothing but rewarding for Mangold. With more than a dozen of his family members in attendance for the occasion, he told a story of how the family was eating breakfast prior to heading to Holley's competition and saw the women's marathon run by their hotel.
"It was very neat and London is a fantastic town," he said. "Everyone there was very friendly, so it was a very positive experience."
Although Mangold was only in London for a few days, he missed two practices, which both wound up causing headlines for the wrong reasons. Monday's practice featured a team brawl and Tuesday the team ran 11 gassers — sprints from sideline to sideline — due to another fight.
"It got a little animated," Mangold said, "but the earth didn't open and everyone fell in."
The four-time Pro Bowler believes the Jets are prepared for their preseason opener at Cincinnati Friday night. He said the offense and defense have pushed each other during training camp and made each unit better.
"We've been hitting the same people every day for the past two weeks or so," Mangold said. "It'll be nice to see somebody else, see how things take hold, see where our retention is because you don't get a script, you don't get a defense shown at you. You just go out there and do it.
"I'm excited to see what our guys can do and where we're at. It'll be a good stepping point."
After a weekend adventure he'll forever cherish, Mangold was happy to be back practicing with his Green & White teammates this morning — even though he had been in the air for 16 hours and in a car for eight more during the last four days.
"It was a great experience," he said. "I'm very proud of her. She fought through her injury. She's 10th in the world so you can't be mad at that. Now that I'm back, it's good to be back in pads and banging around a little bit."
His Jets family couldn't agree more.