Saleha confirmed Becton was undergoing a second evaluation after suffering a chip fracture of his patella during the second play of Monday’s 11-11 team drill. Although the initial prognosis was optimistic, his MRI later in the day revealed more knee damage than originally expected.
“It’s probably inevitable,” Saleh said of the severity of the injury.
When asked to clarify whether Becton’s season will end, Saleh said:
The 6.7-foot-tall Becton is in his third season in the NFL, but he injured the same knee last year in the opening game in Carolina and missed the rest of the season. The injury is new and unrelated to his right kneecap dislocation and cartilage injury last year.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Becton wrote on Instagram. “I know God and my grandma took me there. I know it! Trust me! #IMSTILLHIM.”
Becton, who was run-blocking on a right tackle on Monday, landed on the grass and quickly grabbed his knee. A 2020 first-round draft pick, his pick had fallen moments before he was about to get up, but needed a trainer’s help to get him off the field.
He took off his napkin and ended up limping very cautiously into the locker room.
“It sucks,” quarterback Zach Wilson said.
This is another major setback for Becton, who has previously played on the left flank and has adapted to the move to right tackle this season. George Fant, who slipped in from right tackle and played well in place of Becton, will be slotted as a starter on the left flank.
Becton appeared to be making progress at the right tackle in recent practice, but began wearing a brace on his right knee late last week. Listed at 363 pounds — was also the subject of criticism from some fans and the media. .
Becton attended a mandated minicamp in June, predicting that he would “spoil words” with critics, and was noticeably leaner when he showed up at training camp.
“These are young men, and I think social media and this world sometimes dehumanize these athletes in the worst possible ways,” Saleh said. He’s been walking around and taking all sorts of punches in all sorts of ways, he shows up, shakes his tail off, and grinds every day.
“He shows up at the camp and is fighting to get back in shape. We have videos of him vomiting, people throwing shade, him limping and doing all sorts of things. Fighting for his family, fighting for himself, fighting for his teammates, fighting for this organization, fighting for this fan base, and he’s doing it all, but everyone wants him I want to drop it like a wet rag.”
Saleh, despite external criticism of Becton, insisted otherwise as far as the team is concerned.
“We love Meki,” said the coach. “We are grateful for all he has accomplished and his ride is not over. His story is not over. He has the full support of this organization.”
“And if you’re a fan who wants to support him, you’re more than welcome. Otherwise, keep moving.”
Becton saw a video of Saleh’s comment posted by the team and thanked him with a quoted tweet.
“I appreciate you more than you know a coach!!” Becton wrote. “My favorite coach!!! It’s not over!!!”
With Becton out indefinitely, the Jets must focus on who will replace him at right tackle.
The versatile Chuma Edoga is in the third round in 2019 and seems like the frontrunner so far. Conor McDermott is dealing with his sprained ankle and will be out for a week or two. Fourth-rounders Max Mitchell, Grant Hermans and Derrick Kelly are also options this year.
New York will host free agent Duane Brown over the weekend, and general manager Joe Douglas said in an interview with WFAN that “the wheels are rolling” about the possibility of adding him. The now-year-old Brown was named to his fifth Pro Bowl in Seattle last season.
A first-round pick by the Texans in 2008, Brown has been a left tackle his entire career. As such, Fant will probably have to move back to the right flank if Brown wins.