After suffering a neck injury that could have ended his NFL career, running back Bilal Powell is relishing his opportunity to beat the odds by returning to the New York Jets.
There will be another running back making most of the headlines for the Jets in 2019, but that won’t bother Bilal Powell.
Now back with the last NFL team he called home, Powell is happy just for the chance to take the field again after a scary injury (via team reporter Ethan Greenberg):
I was just blessed to have an opportunity to be back. To be here as long as I’ve been, it’s beating the odds. I was just excited to be back.
Despite the presence of new additions like Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery, and the return of another versatile back in Elijah McGuire, Powell isn’t daunted by facing competition heading into training camp:
It adds competition. You want a room that’s going to compete and when you have that type of talent, injuries happen in this league, but you have to have enough talent to where the next man can come in and do his job.
A fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft out of Louisville, Powell has carved out a solid career in the pros. He’s spent nearly a decade in the league now, playing all 96 of his games for the Gang Green, with 37 starts. He’s rushed for 3,446 yards and 15 touchdowns on 791 carries (4.4 yards per carry), while showing off his versatility by adding 204 receptions for 1,567 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
Powell may be returning to a familiar team, but he’ll be faced with the task of mastering a different playbook and scheme under new head coach Adam Gase.
But judging by how he’s attacked his rehab and training to put himself in a position to return to the game he loves, it’s safe to see he shouldn’t be intimidated by any other challenges he’ll face heading into the 2019 season.