After finishing his 2018 season on injured reserve, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye is on a slow but sure journey back to the starting lineup in 2019.
Alongside Pro Bowler Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye helped give the Jets one of the NFL’s best young safety tandems. Unfortunately, Maye’s 2018 campaign was cut short by a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Maye is still working his way back to full strength, and though he’s not ready to rejoin Adams on the back end of the Jets defense, he’s patiently waiting for his chance and controlling what he can control (via team reporter Olivia Landis):
[I’m] taking it slow. It’s tough because obviously I hate watching. Just being out there and getting those reps is definitely a big thing for me, but I’m doing everything that I can do and just learning from there.
It’s not my first time going through it, so I know how to handle it and I know what to expect. I know how to adjust to everything and learn from the sideline, and also watch a ton of film.
Adams and Maye have been joined at the hip since entering the league, both selected back-to-back by the Jets in the first and second rounds of the 2017 NFL draft. Both starred in the SEC, Adams at LSU and Maye at Florida.
For Adams’ part, he can’t wait to have his partner in crime back in the lineup:
It’s important obviously, he’s like my rib. Any time we’re back there together, we’re flying around and we’re having fun. He knows me and I know him. We feed off each other, so it’s always good to have him back there with me.
Maye made an immediate impact for the Jets, starting all 16 games as a rookie, posting 78 tackles and a pair of interceptions. But his injury limited him to just six starts in 2018.
The Jets defense already had some talented playmakers heading into the offseason, such as Adams and defensive lineman Leonard Williams, both former top-10 draft picks. But adding free agent linebacker C.J. Mosley and No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams to their ranks should help them take things to the next level in 2019.
Once Maye returns to full health, he could be the keystone to one of the league’s most promising defenses.