FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Duane Brown turns 37 in two weeks, but he said he hasn’t lost much of his speed, athleticism or strength over the years.
The Jets new left tackle believes he can still be a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t,” Brown said Tuesday. “I don’t play the game just to be out there. I want to play at a high level. I work hard and continue to play at a high level. There’s not many people that play to this age so those criticisms are well warranted. I’m not going to talk about what I’m going to do. I just get there on the field and prove it. That’s what I plan to do.”
Brown, who made his fifth Pro Bowl last season as a member of the Seahawks, signed with the Jets after Mekhi Becton fractured his kneecap in practice last Monday. The Jets placed Becton on injured reserve Tuesday, officially ending his season. The Jets showed interest in Brown and had him in for a visit before Becton got hurt. ,Brown said Becton's injury expedited things.
“I didn’t know for sure if I was going to come here,” Brown said. “I had some other options. When that happened [to Becton] the day after I left, it happened quickly. There was definitely more of a sense of urgency after that.”
Brown said he chose the Jets because of his relationship with Robert Saleh and offensive line coach John Benton. They were all with the Texans when Brown was drafted by Houston in 2008. Brown knows the wide-zone blocking system and believes the Jets have the makings of a formidable offensive line.
“Across the board it’s a great mixture of youth and veteran guys that have a ton of ability,” Brown said. “I think we have a chance to be great.”
One of his new teammates is an old friend and former teammate in Seattle, George Fant, whose role changed because of Brown’s arrival.
Fant was named the starting left tackle at the start of camp. Now he’s sliding back to right tackle. Brown said he and Fant talked throughout this process and they’re friends first. Brown is thankful Fant hasn’t made anything awkward.
“Just the situation the way it’s played out, it’s not easy for anybody,” Brown said. “But he’s handling it greatly. I’m grateful for it that it hasn’t been that awkward for us. We’re on great terms. We’re friends before anything. We realize the way our line is set up right now we have the potential to be a really good one. He’s embraced it. I’m grateful for it.”
To trim their roster to 85 by Tuesday’s deadline, the Jets released DB Luq Barcoo, OL Derrick Kelly, DE Timmy Ward and WR Rashard Davis. …. Quinnen Williams (ankle) remained out of practice. Saleh is “hoping” that Williams can return later this week and said that they’re just “erring on the side of caution.”