Bridge­wa­ter re­flects about ‘scary’ in­jury

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - Sports -

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.

Julio Cortez / As­so­ci­ated Press

Teddy Bridge­wa­ter, pic­tured here on June 5, is look­ing to re­build his pro­fes­sional ca­reer with the Jets.

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