Nick Mangold’s impressive streak finally will come to an end Sunday.
After playing in 82 straight games, the Jets center won’t fly to Oakland for the team’s 4:05 p.m. game with the Raiders due to a high ankle sprain. The news came as little surprise, given Mangold’s “doubtful” status on the injury report all week and his inactivity during Friday’s practice.
It’s “not the fun thing,” but probably the smart thing, he said of the decision to stay back.
Mangold – still wearing a brace on his right ankle -- mimicked the offensive line calls during a portion of Friday’s practice.
“It’s going to be tough, but you can’t argue with the body,” said the center, who has played in every game since being drafted in the first round by the Jets in 2006.
“…It’s definitely getting better,” added Mangold, who hopes to play next week in Baltimore. “Every day it gets better but it’s just not good enough.”
Asked if the same decision would have been made if the Jets were scheduled to play at home or within driving distance, Rex Ryan said he didn’t think so. “But the fact we are traveling that far, I don’t think that’s good with the swelling and everything else,” the head coach said of Mangold’s ankle.
"He’s just not ready," Ryan said. "It’s as simple as that. He’s doing really well but a high ankle sprain, going against these guys, traveling across country, it’s not in his best interest. …When you play 82 straight games, you’re going to try to do whatever you can to keep that going. He doesn’t know any different. I appreciate his toughness and his courage and everything else, but at the end of the day, we have to do what’s right for him and for the Jets. And he doesn’t need to be making this trip.”
After filling in for Mangold during the Jacksonville game, Colin Baxter will have to shoulder the center’s responsibilities for a full 60 minutes. And though somewhat nervous about the daunting challenge, the rookie out of Arizona is “excited to get over there and go do what we do.”
Baxter said the biggest challenge facing him Sunday will be dealing with the Raider Nation noise.
“It makes it a little bit harder to communicate cadence and everything,” he said. “It’s their home opener so I’m sure they’re going to be fired up. But we just have to go out there and execute and play Jets football.”