After testing the nerve-wracking free agent waters for the first time in his career, Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne said head athletic trainer John Mellody was a key part of why he signed with team.
"I just fell in love with the training staff, the things that they do and the options they give you to be able to take care of your body," he said in an interview with senior team reporter and team insider Eric Allen. "They really care about you as a person."
The six-year-veteran has battled injuries throughout his career, most of which have been described by head coach Todd Bowles as freak accidents.
"It's just been a lot of things that have happened where you ask yourself where that came from," Claiborne said. "Even though you felt like you've done everything in your power to be ready for the upcoming season and stay healthy, you just have things that happen to you."
The LSU product believes he played his best ball last year in large part because of his newly regimented offseason workouts with a trainer who took him to "a whole new level of being pro-ready." In seven games in 2016, the 5'11", 192-pounder registered five pass defenses and one interception. Unofficially, according to Pro Football Focus he allowed a 63.0 paser rating while limiting opposing receivers to a 51.9% catch rate, which ranked ninth and 11th respectively among NFL corners.
Outside of the training staff, Claiborne signed with the Green & White because of his fit in Bowles' scheme as a press corner.
"It's a lot of man-to-man," he said. "It takes a lot of thinking out of the game. You can just play football and I like that. Ever since college, that's the type of player that I've been. I feel like when I'm at my best, I'm going out there playing man-to-man. When I'm healthy, I can take a whole side of the football field away."