Lawson was expected to be the answer to prayers, the straw that stirred the drink, and the best pass rusher that franchise has had since John Abraham. He ended up being an observer, just like the rest of us.
Of course, the injury was no fault of Lawson’s. A ruptured tendon is a cruel twist of fate for an athlete — especially when it occurs in practice — and the sparkly new edge rusher had been dominating camp up to that point.
Now, after nine months on the sidelines, Lawson could be nearing his long-awaited return.
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‘I’ll Be Ready to Go… Even When I Was on One Leg, I’m Ready to Go’
During a May 11 virtual press conference, Lawson addressed his recovery and provided a promising timetable for Jets fans.
“Just taking it slow in OTAs right now and back in training camp,” Lawson told reporters before being asked to elaborate on whether he would be a full participant when camp begins in late July.
He answered: “I think I’m going to be good to go, but it’s kind of up to the organization and how they want to play it, what they want me doing and stuff like that. I’ll be ready to go any time my number’s called. Even when I was on one leg, I’m ready to go. But it’s up to [the trainers] and the organization.”
Head coach Robert Saleh did note recently that Lawson “looks fantastic,” adding that he’s sprinting and “ready to roll.” His rehab may not be over just yet, but Week 1 doesn’t appear to be in doubt at this moment.
“Extremely eager, extremely excited,” the edge rusher replied to another question asking how he feels about his return. “Learned a lot, just from the film… it would have sucked if I hadn’t got all that film on tape.”
The optimistic Lawson even called himself “fortunate” for suffering his injury when he did. “Though I did get hurt, I was able to put some stuff on film and be able to study and grow from that.”
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As the Body Healed, the Mind Has Grown
As always, Lawson’s perspective was unique and refreshing to hear. He explained how his cerebral game has grown since his injury.
“A lot of people kind of see the physical part of football but premonition and knowing what’s coming and stuff like that, that takes a lot,” he voiced, “and I kind of learned that through the last couple of years watching different vets, and kind of seeing how they trained in the offseason — their movements are so proficient because they know what’s happening before it even happens.”
Lawson settled on referring to this skill as a “heightened sense of awareness.” It all makes sense now for the Madden fans in the crowd.
“When you go through things like that, you come out the other side and continue to work, it’s only a benefit,” the wise edge rusher concluded. “Yea, it sucks but at the same time, you get mentally stronger from it.”
As for the deep group of Jets defensive linemen and pass rushers competing for a roster spot in 2022, the team leader called it a “breeding ground for absolute monsters.” He continued: “I think the potential is out the roof, but at the same time we got to stay healthy and we got to be able to execute. And when our number is called, just go out there and ball out.”