C.J. Spiller admitted today in front of his new locker — so new that the nameplate still read NYJETS — that even though he and the Jets had been talking to each other for a while, he feared the sides might never come together.
"The thought definitely ran across my mind," Spiller said in the middle of his first full day as a member of the Green & White. "At the time, you never know what's going to happen. We were in discussions, I was making sure it was the place I wanted to be, that they wanted me to be here. I was grateful they gave me enough time to think on it. Once I made my mind up, it was a go."
With all the paperwork cleared — RB Knile Davis was waived after being acquired on waivers the day before, and Spiller officially signed late Wednesday — more questions about Spiller flowed to the forefront:
How quickly are you picking up Chan Gailey's offense after learning a previous version as Gailey's first first-round pick as head coach of the 2010 Bills?"It's getting there. There's still some stuff that he changed up that's new that I'm having to figure out, but for the most part I'm studying it the best way I can to try to see how quick I pick it up. It's coming back pretty quickly."
Why has your production been off since leaving the Bills after the 2014 season?"Who knows? Going to New Orleans, having an injury, trying to fight my way back, and obviously this year they decided to go in a different direction. Then I was playing in Seattle, they wanted to bring me in until they could get their guys back healthy. Different stuff, but I know I'm a great player, I know I can play in this league, my confidence is not down, and I'm excited about the opportunity I have here."
How can you get work as the No. 3 back at midseason on a team with Matt Forté and Bilal Powell?"My mindset doesn't change. You always prepare the best way you can. ... Forté and Powell, they've been here and done a great job, so you have to come in, you try to learn this offense, try to make the most of your opportunities. I always prepare as if I'm the starter because you never know what's going to happen on gameday."
Will you be ready to play Sunday at Miami?"I'm not sure. It's not my decision. All I can do is prepare, make sure I know my assignments, so if I do, I'll be ready to go." (Head coach Todd Bowles said "there's a chance" he'll play.)
Jets fans are familiar with Spiller's fast, elusive versatility. In '12 he had a 56-yard TD run and a 49-yard run in the season opener and added a 66-yard receiving TD in the season finale. Spiller and Billy Cannon are the only opposing backs to record three 40-yard plays from scrimmage in the same season in Jets franchise history. (Cannon had four such plays for the Houston Oilers in 1961.)
Top Photos from Practice Leading Up to the Green & White's Trip to South Florida
More recently, Spiller had the 8-yard TD reception that put the Seahawks ahead to stay last month at MetLife Stadium. He said his new teammates have reminded him of that score.
"Yeah, I've been getting a lot of grief," he said, adding that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, his former Bills teammate, "said the least I can be is plus-one now. So I've got to score and then score another one just to make up for that touchdown a couple of weeks ago."
Health WatchQB Geno Smith made a visit to the locker room. He didn't speak with reporters but Bowles said Smith is having his knee surgery next week. ... Bowles listed seven DNPs at today's practice, two down from Wednesday as CB Buster Skrine (knee) was limited and WR Charone Peake (ankle) was full-go. The DNPs were Bruce Carter, Ryan Clady, Kellen Davis, Darron Lee, Nick Mangold, Brent Qvale and Muhammad Wilkerson. Both teams' updated injury reports are here.