FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Adam Gase remembers looking over at cornerback Brian Poole near the end of the first day of practice last month. The coach knew something was wrong.
“I just remember looking over and seeing him soaked and I was thinking, ‘Wow, that was unusual for the first day,’ ” Gase said Tuesday, thinking back to that Aug. 14 workout.
Something was wrong indeed. Terribly wrong.
Poole was so dehydrated that he required hospitalization that day. And even after returning to the team, doctors and trainers erred on the side of caution before allowing him back on the field.
That return finally came on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after the episode.
“It was kind of scary,” said the 27-year-old cornerback, who will figure prominently in the Jets’ defense this year. “It was pretty bad cramps, so that kind of made it extreme.”
Complicating matters was an undisclosed pre-existing condition, which meant that Poole couldn’t return to practice as quickly as many other players suffering from dehydration. “There were a lot of precautionary reasons they kept me out a couple extra days.”
“I’m ready to go now,” he said.
You’d never have known Poole was in such tough shape if you’d seen him at Tuesday’s practice. He looked terrific in what was somewhat limited work as the Jets regulate his snap count to get him into playing shape. His backpedals were brisk. He was quick to the ball in 7-on-7 drills. And his coverage was excellent in full-team snaps.
“It was great to get back on the grass with my teammates,” he said.
Poole insists it won’t take him long to be ready for game conditions.
“Maybe another day or two, and I think I’ll be ready,” he said.
Gase was particularly happy to see Poole back, and not simply because the team has been riddled with injuries.
“It was great to see him out there, and he looked good working,” Gase said.
And no scary moment like the last time Poole was on the field.
“Even after practice, his jersey wasn’t a different color green as everybody else’s,” Gase said. "He looked excited to be out there.”
Had it been up to Poole, the return would have been sooner.
“He was bugging me for the last two or three days, [saying] ‘I’m good, I’m good, I’m good,’ ” Gase said. “I think our training [staff] did a good job of making sure we were checking all the boxes and not rushing anything. To see him get out there and the excitement he had, he looked like a guy that was playing his first day of football. He was jacked up.”
Poole is optimistic about what lies ahead for the defense, even without safety Jamal Adams, who was traded to the Seahawks before training camp started. And even despite skepticism from outside the locker room.
“I really don’t pay attention to a lot of stuff people say. I think we’ve got a really good [defensive] unit,” Poole said. “The more we played together, the better we’re going to get. I feel like we’ve got one of the best coaching staffs to get us prepared.”
That preparation will be helped along by a strong bond among the players, especially after recent conversations prompted by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“It was good to get comfortable having those uncomfortable conversations,” he said. “We’re all brothers.”
He laments society can’t reflect what he experiences with his teammates.
“It’s kind of unfortunate that the world can’t be like our locker room,” he said. “Just a whole bunch of guys from a whole bunch of different places coming together for one common goal. It’s very unfortunate that the world is not like our locker room.”