Michael Carter of the Jets russ the ball against the Jacksonville...

Michael Carter of the Jets russ the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Michael Carter has the floor if he wants it.

Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said the rookie running back carries himself like such a seasoned professional that he’s a natural leader and can speak up whenever he wants.

"This dude, it’s like it’s his sixth year in the NFL," LaFleur said. "Every day is the same for him. He’s constant. He’s a professional. He brings energy. He brings juice. He’s a leader.

"I told him last week, ‘If you want to lead and you got something to say, say it now. Don’t wait. You don’t have to wait to Year 2, Year 3. Your actions speak for who you are as a player and as a teammate. If you have something to say to the offense or to the team, it’s yours, man. Take the keys to it.’ "

Carter has shown dual-threat versatility and overall ability, which includes being hard to bring down. A fourth-round pick, he looks as if he could be a cornerstone piece and part of a young nucleus on offense that features fellow rookies Zach Wilson, Elijah Moore and Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Carter leads the Jets in rushing yards (559) and total scrimmage yards (882) and is fourth in catches (35). He ran for a career-best 118 yards in last Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, his second game back after going on injured reserve with an ankle sprain.

"He doesn’t conduct himself like a normal rookie, and players respect that," LaFleur said. "His play backs that up."

Run, Zach, run

LaFleur was happy to see Wilson took his advice last week against Jacksonville. He rushed for 91 yards on four carries, including a 52-yard touchdown. LaFleur said he told Wilson two weeks earlier that he gave himself up too early on a scramble.

"I thought there was a lot more," LaFleur said. "Keelan [Cole] was in a position to go block. I told him in that moment, like, ‘Dude, there’s more there for you. You’re a better athlete than you’re giving yourself credit for.’ I thought he had a few opportunities in the weeks before that. He did that this last week. He took off . . . He made a few runs that were big for us."

COVID update

The Jets got four starters back from the reserve/ COVID-19 list on Thursday: Vera-Tucker, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers and safety Ashtyn Davis.

Wide receiver Vyncint Smith and defensive end Rashed Hamilcar were restored to the practice squad from the COVID list.

The Jets also added running back Tevin Coleman and defensive back Zane Lewis — who was on IR — to the COVID list. They still have 13 players on it.

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