Carl Lawson out for season in crushing Jets blow

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GREEN BAY, Wisc. – The Jets just hit their first iceberg of 2021. Now, we’ll see if it sinks their season.

Pass rusher Carl Lawson was lost for the season after rupturing his left Achilles’ tendon on Thursday during a joint practice with the Packers.

Lawson, who has been the best player in training camp for the Jets, came around the edge on a pass play, was working against tackle Elgton Jenkins before falling down to the ground. He was in clear pain as teammates huddled around him before he was carted off the field.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas had a pained look on his face when a trainer came to tell him the news. Douglas was on the other side of the field, watching the Jets offense, but immediately walked toward the defensive side.

Lawson was the Jets top free-agent signing this offseason along with wide receiver Corey Davis. The Jets signed him in March to a three-year, $45 million deal that included $30 million guaranteed. Lawson spent his first four seasons with the Bengals, where he had 20 career sacks.

Carl Lawson
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

The 26-year-old has terrorized the Jets offensive line in training camp. He has been relentless and has constantly been in the backfield making plays. Just last week, coach Robert Saleh raved about Lawson.

“If you watch the [game] tape, he beats everybody, so it’s not foreign to him to win,” Saleh said. “What’s cool though is his work ethic and the way he goes about his day-to-day process: He is relentless with his body. There’s an old saying that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, but, this dude, not only is he talented, but he works his absolute butt off. And because of it, you see results.”

Saleh, who spoke to reporters before practice Thursday, was not available for comment after the injury.

It is the first bit of true adversity for the new Jets coach, who has enjoyed a honeymoon of an offseason before this. The Jets saw Lawson as a key piece in Saleh’s defense, similar to the role that Nick Bosa played in the 49ers’ scheme under Saleh. They envisioned Lawson teaming with Quinnen Williams to lead a defensive line that was viewed as the strength of the team. Second-year player Bryce Huff took Lawson’s place in practice Thursday and seemingly will get the first crack at replacing him.

A major injury is not a new thing for Lawson. He tore his left ACL in 2014 while at Auburn, and then tore his right ACL in 2018 with the Bengals. Now, he faces another long rehabilitation process to return for the 2022 season.

The practice with the Packers was filled with injuries for the Jets. Lawson was the headliner, but they also lost safety Zane Lewis, who tore his patella tendon and suffered a sprained MCL, which ends his 2021 season. Lewis has been making the switch from cornerback to safety and had a nice training camp.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh greets New York Jets cornerback Zane Lewis during OTAs.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh greets New York Jets cornerback Zane Lewis during OTAs.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

DT Sheldon Rankins (knee) and WR Denzel Mims (hip) also let practice with what the Jets labeled “minor” injuries and are listed as day-to-day. A source said Mims was removed mainly as a precaution.

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