Elijah Riley is carted off in Miami after suffering a...

Elijah Riley is carted off in Miami after suffering a concussion at Hard Rock Stadium on Dec. 19. Credit: Getty Images/Cliff Hawkins

Elijah Riley suffered what appeared to be a very serious injury in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, but the Jets are optimistic that he will play again this season, maybe even this week.

"He’s going to make a full recovery and his playing career is not in jeopardy," coach Robert Saleh said during a Monday afternoon Zoom call. "We’re optimistic that we’ll get him back this year and hopefully this week."

That’s terrific news for the former Newfield High School star, who was carted off the field at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on a backboard with his neck immobilized.

Riley was taken to a Miami-area hospital Sunday, and Saleh said he "knock on wood, checked out really good" at the hospital. Riley ended up flying home with the Jets after the game.

The Port Jefferson native is in the concussion protocol and will have to clear some hurdles before he can play again, whether it’s Sunday against Jacksonville or the two games after that. It certainly could have been much worse in what was a scary scene.

Riley, a second-year safety, lay on the field motionless after appearing to collide with a teammate while trying to tackle Dolphins running back Duke Johnson in the third quarter. Players on both sides knelt and some prayed as medical professionals tended to Riley.

"A very scary moment for everybody," Saleh said. "Everybody in the stadium, especially the ones wearing a uniform. They’re the ones that have the greatest empathy for what was actually happening."

Saleh gave credit to the medical staffs of the Jets and the Dolphins for acting as quickly as they did and "getting it all under control." When Riley was wheeled out, he raised his right arm and was cheered.

Saleh said it’s "a big sigh of relief" that Riley is doing well.

"They carted him off, got him to the hospital, and from there, they were able to run all the scans," Saleh said. "He checked out good. A very scary concussion is what it ended up being. He’s going to have some soreness and all that stuff."

Riley, 23, was signed by the Jets in November off the Eagles’ practice squad. They had just lost Marcus Maye for the season and needed some additional bodies in the secondary.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas was interested in Riley last year, when Philadelphia signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Army. When Douglas had the chance to sign Riley this year, he did. Now he has a chance to stick with the Jets.

Riley has started all five games he’s played with the Jets, which are the only starts of his NFL career. He’s made a quick impact on the team and his teammates.

Jets players have praised Riley for being a vocal leader and challenging and holding them to a high standard. They said he fit in right away despite joining the team midway through the season.

Riley has 34 tackles, including one for a loss. He had six tackles Sunday after getting a career-high 10 last week against New Orleans.

Saleh said he hadn’t gotten a chance to see Riley, but he believes he’s in great spirits.

"I know my spirits are up and I know his are too," he said. "It’s a big sigh of relief. It’s not a comforting feeling laying there. It’s not a comforting feeling watching it. I’d imagine he’s in great spirits."

More Jets


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.