C.J. Mosley on Decision to Opt-Out, Future With Jets

C.J. Mosley

Getty C.J. Mosley prepares during a New York Jets preseason game in 2019.

After nearly two years off the field, New York Jets star linebacker C.J. Mosley is back in action, and he finally addressed the media in a press conference on May 27, 2021.

One of the first questions posed to Mosley yesterday was one that many fans were curious about for some time, why did the team leader choose to opt-out in 2020? Let’s take a live look in.

Mosley on His Decision to Opt-Out

After going into detail about the time and thought he put into the choice, Mosley eventually attributed his opt-out to being “more of a family decision.” He added: “At the end of the day it was my decision as well. I just felt it was the best thing for me to do.”

Although this may not be the answer Jets fans are looking for, it’s what most probably expected from Mosley. The pandemic was tough on many American families, and athletes are included in the struggle of the last year and change.

Mosley also noted that although he rehabbed in Alabama and remained there afterward, he did keep up with all the weekly Jets workouts and conditioning schedules. He even added that he watched every game, commenting: “It was tough to watch from the couch, especially watching as a fan because that was probably the first time I’ve done that in a long time.”

Mosley on Injury & Pressure to Perform

The middle linebacker also addressed his injury that occurred in his first game as a Jet:

2019 was tough. I probably was having one of the best games of my career at that point. Then to have the injury, and I was busting my butt to try to get back on the field and I ended up re-injuring myself in the Patriots game so I was pretty much playing on one leg until I got taken out.

Mosley described his mentality during rehab, saying he had a “mindset that I have to get over that hump.” He also clarified that what began as a groin injury, turned into a core muscle pull during the Patriots game.

His final words on his injury were this: “It was a grind and a lot longer than I expected, but man that’s in the past and we here now.”

Jets media also asked Mosley about the pressure he may be feeling after signing a mega-contract that he has yet to fulfill on the field. His response was confident: “Pressure, I don’t feel too much pressure. I mean, I’m a football player that’s what I’ve done my whole life so I’m going to steal the Stephen Curry quote, ‘I don’t have a lot to prove but I have a lot to accomplish.'”

Robert Saleh’s System & Health Moving Forward

If there was any question whether or not Mosley could adapt to a 4-3 defense, the Mike backer put that to rest, saying he’s “pretty comfortable wherever [he] lines up.”

He also noted that every linebacker should know every position, in case you have to switch roles mid-game. Mosley said: “That’s what I’ve done my whole career, you know play Mike and Will, rotate both ways.”

It’s expected that Mosley would continue to play the Mike role for the Jets in 2021, but there has been some speculation that free agent acquisition Jarrad Davis could take on that role.

In terms of health, Mosley gave fans a promising outlook, stating: “After finishing this week I feel great. Conditioning felt good, I’ve been moving around so, just taking it one step at a time.”

He added that he “doesn’t have any doubts in himself,” and he’ll “let the play do the talking.”

According to Mosley, the next steps in his comeback are “learning the system” and “building the confidence in the defense, linebacker room and [himself].”

Mosley on Jets’ Changing Culture, Zach Wilson

Robert Saleh has turned player’s heads around the league since entering it, and Mosley was no different. He said this on Saleh: “First day here man, he just brought the energy, that’s what you want from a head coach.”

The culture around the Jets seems to be changing this offseason, and Mosley spoke on that topic as well: “For starters, we have a head coach, defensive coordinator, and offensive coordinator that have been in the Super Bowl in the past five years, so we have a system that’s shown to work. So, our job as players is to come in every day and make sure we buy into this system, we buy into the new way of the Jets, all gas no breaks, and we bring it to the field when it’s ready.”

The linebacker was also asked about quarterback Zach Wilson, and the first word that came to mind was “composed.” Mosley said he told Wilson: “Just have all the confidence you need, just have confidence that the defense got your back.”

Mosley mentioned throughout that he’s excited to be back, noting that the thing he missed most was the locker room and teammates.

He smiled as he answered a question from Kim Jones: “There’s a little added chip… when I get back on the field I definitely want to make sure they respect in the name again.”

Mosley ended on a high note: “The flame’s back 100%… you want to be on the field, you want to be productive, you want to prove that you came to the Jets to help this organization win and be one of the best players on the field and in the league, and when you can’t do that it’s frustrating.”

When healthy, Mosley has been a top-tier talent and four-time Pro Bowler, with four seasons of 100 or more total tackles and 17 turnovers forced throughout his NFL career. Simply put, he’s a game-changer, and the Jets need more of those in 2021.

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