Carl Lawson’s first season with the Jets was over before it started. Nine months removed from a torn Achilles tendon, the defensive end is “eager” and “excited” to get back on the field.
In a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday, Lawson said he expects to be back for training camp.
“I think I’ll be good to go, but it’s up to the organization and how they want to play it, what they want me doing and stuff like that,” Lawson said. “I’ll be ready to go when my number is called. Even when I was on one leg, I was ready to go.”
The Jets could opt to take it slowly with Lawson, let him start training camp on the sidelines and ramp up for a few weeks before returning to the field. Keeping players healthy has been an emphasis this offseason for the Jets, and you can bet on them taking a conservative approach with players returning from major injuries.
Lawson was at the start of training camp last year before he tore his left Achilles on Aug. 20 during a joint practice with the Packers in Green Bay. Lawson had signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Jets four months before, and he was expected to be the team’s best pass rusher. Without him, the Jets finished last in defense.
The 26-year-old said he expects to be better than he was before the injury.
“I’ve had a major injury before and I came back better,” said Lawson, who has torn his ACL twice. “This is different. I don’t really plan on not being better than what I was. Usually when I come back from injury, I’ve been blessed to always come back better than I was before. But if I don’t, who knows? But I plan on being better than what I was.”
New Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah knows Lawson well. The two played together at Auburn and with the Bengals.
“Carl’s a monster,” Uzomah said. “He’s built like an action figure. If you go on ‘Madden’ and you try to build a player, that is Carl. Playing with him for six, seven years, however long it is, he’s just a freak. His get-off is just unbelievable. His strength is, in my opinion, his biggest strength. He’s a monster. To get him back out on the field, our defensive line is going to be really freaking good.”
The Jets appear to have a really strong defensive line with Lawson returning. They have Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins and John Franklin-Myers back from last year. They just drafted defensive ends Jermaine Johnson II and Micheal Clemons. They signed Jacob Martin and Solomon Thomas in free agency. Vinny Curry is returning to the team after missing last season with complications from a blood clot disorder.
“I think the potential is out the roof,” Lawson said of the D-line. “At the same time, we have to stay healthy and we have to be able to execute. When our number is called, just go out there and ball out.
“I love this group because it’s a bunch of guys with different backstories. It’s going to be a competitive group, so it’s going to create a breeding ground for absolute monsters. You’ve got guys wanting to come back and prove themselves like myself. You’ve got undrafted guys. You’ve got guys who went to JUCO. You’ve got guys coming off life-threatening injury, you’ve got so many different people that have been through different adversity. … I love this group.”