The New York Jets were all in on Lamarcus Joyner and it seems like the feelings were mutual.
After signing the veteran defensive back to a one-year deal in 2021, they followed it up with another one-year deal in 2022. Joyner tore his triceps in the season opener versus the Carolina Panthers and had a lot of time to think about his football future.
To him the decision was simple this offseason: play for the Jets or retire.
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The eight-year veteran who is heading into his ninth professional season dropped that bombshell on the media after the final training camp practice on Friday.
“It was either the Jets or I was going to retire. I love this organization that much. Like I said last year, I was pleased to be with head coach Robert Saleh. I love his mentality, his standards, and I love this defensive scheme.”
When asked by the reporter somewhat incredulously if he really thought about retiring Joyner quickly responded, “100 percent.”
The former Florida State product said he was going through “a lot of personal stuff” this offseason but said the Jets were very supportive and that was the “extra push” that he needed.
When Saleh was asked about him in the post-practice presser, he said Joyner’s veteran savvy is the reason they feel so confident in him:
“He has a wealth of experience and is a calming force back there. It is kind of like the same thing that we have talked about with Joe Flacco. Just kind of being a calming force for the offense, Joyner is [that same] calming force on the backend. He does a great job communicating. He and Jordan Whitehead make a really cool team. You can tell he’s got some fresh legs, he was flying around yesterday. I’m excited to see him in game action on Sunday and really happy that he is back.”
Eerily Similar Vibes
This strong belief in Joyner as not only a starter on the defense but as a key cog feels eerily similar to 2021.
In the buildup during the last offseason, everyone was screaming for the Jets to add a significant piece to their cornerback depth chart.
Despite that chatter, Saleh continued to ignore that noise and maintained that they believed in their guys in-house.
Ultimately a lot of people ended up with a foot in the mouth because the cornerbacks were a pleasant surprise last season.
Perhaps Saleh and the rest of this team have earned the benefit of the doubt with some of these decisions.
Joyner on the surface is an underwhelming option as a starter next to Whitehead. He is older, has been injured, and was playing out of position prior to signing with the Jets in 2021.
However, Saleh still strongly believes he will be a steadying presence on the backend of the defense for an incredibly young secondary.
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