CORTLAND -- Despite not even being able to play a single snap, Jeff Otah believes he can do “good things” for the Jets.
It’s just a matter of time until he’s able to.
The right tackle, who was placed on the active/PUP list Wednesday after failing his physical, spent Friday’s practice doing agility drills on the sidelines. Otah, who was traded to the Jets from Carolina, has until Wednesday to pass his next physical or the trade is off.
When the Panthers notified him last week that a trade was imminent, Otah told them his first choice was the Jets. Not only did he love the team, but the Nigerian-born player relocated to the Bronx when he was younger and still has friends in the area.
So for now, the offensive lineman said he's focused on making the most out of this situation, gettting healthy and getting back on the field.
“I’m almost there,” he said, referring to the health of his left knee.
“90 percent?” a reporter asked.
“Close. Almost there,” Otah deadpanned.
But he didn't sound too confident about passing his next physical.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Despite lingering questions about his health, the Jets traded for Otah even though the offensive lineman had two surgeries on his left knee and was placed on injured reserve after playing in just four games the past two seasons. According to Otah, the team told him he would have a chance to compete against Wayne Hunter for the right tackle job.
“You’ve got to have that mentality,” he said. “If I’m healthy, I expect to be starting. To go out there and get the spot.”
Hunter, however, isn’t about to let that happen.
The Jets current starting right tackle reiterated after Friday's practice that “this is my job to lose” and he's not worried about the offseason moves.
Hunter, 31, continually has had to defend his starting spot, but that’s “Simply because every media member keeps asking about it,” he said.
Hunter, though, insisted he’s not frustrated or bothered by the constant inquiries about his status. There’s competition every year, he said. And it’s no different now.
“It’s a fact that I had a rough year,” Hunter said. “Everyone’s looking, (saying) ‘Wayne’s got to defend his job.’ No. They bring in competition every offseason, no matter what position it is. They’re always looking for the diamond in the rough. So with that being said, the fact that people keep asking about it, it’s OK with me. I’m fine with it because I know the kind of season I had last year. I could have done better. I could have done worse, I could have done better.”
So does Hunter believe he can be the Jets’ diamond in the rough?
“I think they’d like to think I am,” he said with a laugh.
When asked again if he personally believes he can be that diamond the Jets are looking for, Hunter he replied: “I think I could play better. My main focus is just getting better with every practice.”