NY Jets’ linebacker Avery Williamson practiced fully on Sunday for the first time in over a year.
Just about a year and a week ago to the date, Williamson was injured on a fluke play in the team’s second preseason game of the summer. The result was a torn ACL that would cost him his entire 2019 season.
From a key piece in the Jets’ defense to a year-long resident of the injured reserve, Williamson’s hopes and aspirations were stripped away from him with one twist of fate on that regretful Sunday afternoon.
But this past Sunday was somewhat of a redemption for the 28-year-old.
Williamson spoke to reporters after practice and detailed his lengthy rehab and how it took much longer than was originally anticipated.
“It’s been a long journey, definitely. From that point, I didn’t realize the amount of work I was going to have to put in to get back to this point, get back to my old self. I thought it was going to be a lot faster. I thought I was going to be running by December. Everybody’s different. I just wasn’t healing as fast as I thought I would.”
The process will stick with Williamson forever and the incredible journey that athletes go through when rehabbing a serious injury such as his is often overlooked.
But none of that matters at this point. The past is the past, and Williamson is focused on the future.
“I definitely feel like I’ve got to prove myself. That’s every year. There’s always going to be competition, guys trying to take your spot. Me missing a year, the guys last year they played well. I give them credit. They definitely played well. I’ve just got to come and make up ground and make sure that I’m on point, make sure I know the playbook thoroughly and make sure when I get my opportunities that I make them count.”
NY Jets’ linebacker Avery Williamson will have to earn his way back into the starting lineup.
Williamson should have no problem earning his starting spot back — especially with C.J. Mosley out — but at least for Sunday, he wasn’t working with the starters.
Instead, the Jets relegated Williamson to the second-team defense as a means of easing him back into action. That process began when he was activated off the PUP list on Saturday before participating in individual drills later that same day.
But on Sunday, he took part in normal team drills as well. Expect him to be promoted to the first-team defense before long, especially if Patrick Onwuasor is to miss any practice time with his knee injury.
The road to redemption is nearly complete for Williamson. To this point, it’s been small steps in a gradual practice. And once he returns to the gridiron for his first regular-season game since 2018, that road will be complete.
But for now, Avery Williamson is just one step closer to achieving his ultimate goal.