Bridgewater reflects about ‘scary’ injury
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Teddy Bridgewater remembers some of his teammates crying. They were on their knees and praying. For him.
The New York Jets quarterback was with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 when he went down in a heap of agonizing pain. Bridgewater had twisted his left knee badly on a non-contact play, and the severity of the injury was only beginning to surface.
Bridgewater knew from the looks of his teammates’ faces that the situation was dire. And somehow, he stayed calm.
“As gruesome as it may have seemed, I feel like I did a great job of remaining poised,” Bridgewater recalled Tuesday as the Jets opened their three-day minicamp.
Coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Bridgewater had torn the anterior cruciate ligament and had other structural damage, including a dislocated knee joint.
“There were guys throwing helmets, guys on knees and I didn’t cry and I didn’t worry,” Bridgewater said. “I just knew that it was in God’s hands. I think I was impressed with the way I kept my faith, but I got to see how much I meant to the guys — not only as a football player, but also as a person. It could’ve went totally south.”
His career was in jeopardy, and at one point, saving his mangled left leg was the only thing that mattered.
“It was scary,” Bridgewater said while managing a smile. “But at the end of the day, I was still breathing. That was my biggest takeaway from it. … When there’s someone out there whose situation is worse than yours, that’s the first thing that came into my mind.”
The Jets, looking for quarterback depth, signed him for $500,000 in March and drafted Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick a month later. Josh McCown, who turns 39 on July 4, remains the favorite to win the starting job, but Bridgewater could have as much of a shot at winning the threeman competition as anyone.
“To be able to just stand here right now, I’m thankful for the guys who supported me through the injury,” Bridgewater said.
Teddy Bridgewater, pictured here on June 5, is looking to rebuild his professional career with the Jets.