Lawson said Wednesday in a Zoom call with reporters, his first interview since December. “I’ll be ready to go when my number is called. Even when I was on one leg, I was ready to go.”
According to coach Robert Saleh, Lawson is doing sprints, but is still in the final stages of his rehab. The team will be cautious with Lawson, their free agent signed in 2021, which means there could be a ramp-up period once camp starts.
The Jets had high expectations from Lawson after signing a three-year, $45 million contract, but he tore his Achilles last August 20 in joint training with the Green Bay Packers. It was over before the season started. The defense struggled without him, finishing 32 in allowed yards, 32 in scoring and 26 in sacks.
This is a tough injury for any player, let alone a passer who relies on first-step speed, but Lawson is confident he can get his old form back.
“I’ve had serious injuries before and come back better,” said Lawson, who has recovered from two ACL injuries. “This is different, but I don’t plan to be better than I was. … But if I don’t, who knows? But I plan to be better than I was.”
Lawson dominated training camp before the injury, and he plans to go to school in this movie. He believes this will provide a baseline when he returns to the field.
“Karl is a monster,” Gates said at the end of CJ Uzumah’s court of his former Bengals and Auburn teammate. “He’s built like an action figure. If you go to Madden and try to build a player, that’s Karl. Playing with him for six years, seven years, and for whatever duration, he’s just weird. His sprinting is incredible, and in my opinion, his biggest strength is his.” To get him back on the field, our line of defense would be really good.”
Perhaps as a guarantee, the Jets have added a few defensive ends, most notably picking Jermaine Johnson second and former Houston Texans player Jacob Martin. They also re-signed veteran Vinnie Curry, who missed last season due to complications from a blood disorder.
Lawson and John Franklin Myers project as the beginning end, where Franklin Myers has the flexibility to play interference. Solomon Thomas, a free agent acquisition, has both indoor and outdoor diversity. Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins are among the top returning contenders.
“I think the potential is up in the ceiling,” Lawson said. “I love this group. There is a group of guys with different backgrounds. It will be a competitive group, so it will create a breeding ground for ultimate monsters.”