Jets HC Robert Saleh Explains Mekhi Becton’s Absence at OTAs

Mekhi Becton

Getty Mekhi Becton at Florham Park training camp in August of 2020.

Since Joe Douglas drafted Mekhi Becton with his inaugural first-round pick as New York Jets general manager, the main question surrounding the large left tackle has been his health and physical fitness.

When on the field, Becton has already proven that he has the size and the tools to make it in the NFL. The problem is, he wasn’t always on it his rookie year.

Becton missed two games and was unable to start a third in 2020. Really, it ended up being three games altogether in terms of snap count, as well as a portion of a couple of games that he started, like the finale against the New England Patriots.

That’s why when Becton was first held out of practice last Thursday (May 27, 2021), a red flag went up for some of those covering the Jets. ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted: “That he didn’t practice Thursday suggests a possible injury; teams aren’t required to report injuries in the offseason.”

Then Ian Rapoport dropped the story about veteran tackle Morgan Moses visiting Florham Park and the Jets the week prior, and it all started making sense that Becton had some sort of ailment that was bothering him.

This morning (June 4, 2021), we finally got some information from head coach Robert Saleh.

Saleh on Becton

When asked about his left tackle at his press conference, Saleh answered that Becton is “dealing with a foot,” but added that he won’t need surgery and that it’s “really not that big of a deal.”

Rapoport then officially described the injury as plantar fasciitis.

Based on Saleh’s comments, this particular injury didn’t seem all that serious. The coach even joked that they ask him to stay off his feet because he’s a “very large human being.”

Saleh also told the press that Becton has been in meetings and workouts since his injury. When Cimini countered with a question on whether or not he had practiced before missing time, Saleh confirmed that he had and that he left because his foot was bothering him.

Weight and diet have been a concern for Becton since joining the Jets, so when The Athletic‘s Connor Hughes asked a follow-up about his conditioning and his weight’s effect on his feet, the answer by Saleh was pretty interesting.

He responded: “The amount of investment that you put into your body is the amount that it’ll give back. So that’s part of the learning progression of young men. They’ve got to learn how to take care of their bodies, they’ve got to eat right, workout right, rest right, regen[erate] right.”

Saleh added that Becton is one of those young men he’s describing, but backed the tackle, saying that the Jets “have a lot of faith in him.”

Here’s the full interview.

Becton should be fine so long as this foot issue doesn’t linger, but the constant injuries are a signal that something has to change within the left tackle’s daily regimen.

His health and performance are paramount to the future of both the Jets and Zach Wilson, and Saleh and the Jets nutritional experts must get in front of this before it nips them in the bud during the 2021 season.

Cimini wrote it best: “Becton is a special talent; the only thing that can stop him is him.”

Other Notable Jets Injury Updates

Besides Becton, the head coach did give positive updates on wide receivers Corey Davis and Denzel Mims.

Davis strained his shoulder during OTAs, but Saleh told the press that “if it was a game week he’d be rolling.” He also explained that Mims was dealing with a “non-Covid illness,” and that the second-year wide-out “should be at practice today.”

Both of these updates were encouraging for Jets fans, but the Becton story will win the day. Until the 360-plus pound lineman can get himself into better shape, there will always be a question on whether or not he can stay healthy.

Are YOU worried at all about Becton, or do you think he’ll be fine by the time we hit training camp? Reach us on Facebook @HeavyOnJets, or Twitter @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25.

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