Carl Lawson is itching to get back on the football field and expects to be a better player than he was before rupturing his Achilles.
The Jets edge rusher believes he will be ready for training camp at the end of July, but it’s up to the medical staff and organization whether Lawson will be a full participant.
“I’ll be ready to go at any time my number’s called,” Lawson said during a Wednesday Zoom call. “Even when I was on one leg, I was ready to go. It’s up to them and the organization.”
Lawson is participating in the Jets’ offseason program, but the Jets can’t wait for him to really rejoin the team and the defense on the field. Lawson was dominating in camp last year after signing a three-year, $45 million deal.
They will be cautious with Lawson, who suffered the injury during a late August joint practice in Green Bay when he was trying to get to Aaron Rodgers.
It often takes players two years after such a significant injury to feel like themselves or have the same burst and explosiveness. Lawson, who tore his ACL in college and in the pros, doesn’t believe that will be the case for him.
“I don’t really plan on not being better than what I was,” Lawson said. “Usually when I come back from injury, I’ve been blessed to always come back better than I was before. If I don’t, who knows? But I plan on being better than what I was.”
The Jets have little doubt that will be the case from how Lawson approached his rehab to all the film work he’s done.
Lawson rewatched his plays from camp last year to see what he did well and what he could change. That also allows him to master his craft and be more proficient when he knows what’s coming.
Robert Saleh is excited about Lawson’s return. He said Lawson is sprinting and looks “fantastic.” Saleh praised Lawson for being “an animal with his rehab” and believes Lawson’s drive won’t allow him to be anything but successful.
“He’s put in so much work to get to his point where he is,” Saleh said. “I know he’s not even close to stopping and I know he’s going to put in even more work to get where he needs to go.”
Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah played with Lawson at Auburn and the Bengals. Uzomah said Lawson will have a big impact on the Jets’ defense.
“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 years, seven years, total in my career, he’s just a freak. His get-off is unbelievable. His strength, that’s his biggest strength, is his strength. He’s a monster. Top get him back on the field, our defensive line is going to be really freaking good.”
Lawson feels the same about the defensive line, calling it “an absolute breeding ground for monsters.”
He not only studied film of himself but all of his teammates, including the defensive ends the Jets just drafted, Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons. Lawson likes those additions, who are joining Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Sheldon Rankins, Bryce Huff, Vinny Curry, Jacob Martin, Solomon Thomas and Nathan Shepherd. The defensive line should be a strength for the Jets.
“The potential is out the roof,” Lawson said. “I love this group because it’s a bunch of different backstories. It’s going to be a competitive group so it’s going to create a breeding ground for absolute monsters.
“You got guys wanting to come back and prove themselves like myself, you got undrafted guys, you got guys who went to JUCO, Vinny Curry coming off a damn near life-threatening injury. You’ve got so many different people that have been through different adversities and then you got that competitive nature and you got guys who love football. It’s an absolute breeding ground for monsters.”