NEW YORK (AP) Josh McCown has been through this plenty during his NFL career.
The New York Jets are the 10th team the veteran quarterback has been with since 2002, so he’s sort of an expert in getting acquainted with teammates in new surroundings.
”It’s always good to get back started, especially when you are coming to a new team,” McCown said Monday in quotes issued by the team, which reported for its first day of the offseason program at its training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. ”It’s good to meet everyone and get acclimated. But it’s the first day in a long process and I’m excited to be part of it.”
McCown was signed in March to a one-year, $6 million contract to try to help stabilize the Jets’ shaky quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith became free agents and weren’t re-signed, leaving New York only with the unproven Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg at the position.
The 37-year-old McCown, who spent the past two seasons in Cleveland, is the front-runner for the Jets’ starting job.
But the quarterback spot is far from settled. New York holds the No. 6 overall pick in the draft and could opt to take one of the top available passers – perhaps Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky – at the spot.
After Fitzpatrick struggled mightily and was benched for the second time, Petty took over and did little to cement his status as the team’s potential starter before a shoulder injury ended his season. The 2015 fourth-rounder out of Baylor spent the offseason rehabilitating his left (non-throwing) shoulder and recharging.
”I’m excited on all fronts,” Petty said. ”It’s always good to get some time away, but then you come back in the building and see old faces and see the guys. It’s the kind of adrenaline you don’t get anywhere else.”
Several familiar faces are no longer in New York’s locker room after last season’s 5-11 campaign, with the Jets in what appears to be a clear rebuilding mode. Cornerback Darrelle Revis, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, center Nick Mangold, left tackle Ryan Clady and kicker Nick Folk were among the well-established veterans who were let go to slash some high salaries.
McCown, offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum, kicker Chandler Catanzaro and cornerback Morris Claiborne are among the newcomers settling in. According to photos posted on the Jets’ website, wide receiver Eric Decker (hip, shoulder) and running back Matt Forte (torn meniscus), both recovering from offseason surgeries, were also in attendance Monday.
NFL teams continue their offseason programs, which includes classroom work and strength and conditioning, through mid-May, when organized team activities begin. Minicamps are held in June, with training camp starting in late-June.
”It feels like the first day of school, walking around seeing smiles on everybody’s face,” said defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who made his first Pro Bowl last season. ”It feels great to be back to work with all of my teammates.”
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