FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Willie Colon admits he wasn't expecting the phone call last month from the New York Jets, wanting to bring him back. But that doesn't mean that he isn't happy that it came.
It had looked like Colon's tenure with the Jets and perhaps even his solid NFL career was over. Reports early in preseason said that the Jets were ready to move on from the player and the signing of James Carpenter from the Seattle Seahawks seemed to spell an end to his time in the green and white. Deep down, he was readying himself for the next stage of his career and the possibility of a move into television.
And yet here is Colon with his helmet in his hand, part of voluntary mini-camp and under contract with the Jets.
“It's obviously tough, I wanted to me back. I wanted to be here. I wasn't ready to transition. God answered my prayers,” Colon told Metro. “Everything was so up in the air. There were so many moves that had to be made and needed to be made. Just be ready for the transition if that's what was to happen. Thankfully it didn't and I'm back here again; just happy to be here.”
He calls this “my time” as he readies for what could be his third year with the team. A product of Hofstra, Colon grew up in the Bronx and is as local as local gets – he has frequently spoken about how much it means to play for his hometown in front of his family and friends. There might as well be a '212' area code tattooed on his biceps, such is his love for New York City.
The 32-year old has made started every game for the Jets over the past two years and has become a fan favorite for his play with a nasty streak.
Yet it seemed like the Jets had moved on from Colon and by all accounts they had. Brian Winters was returning from a season-ending injury and he was the likely starter at left guard. The aforementioned Carpenter seemed a likely fit at right guard and there were two third-year players in Oday Aboushi and Dalton Freeman who seemed like naturals to take the next step in the two-deep. A spot for a veteran just didn't seem likely.
And there was Colon, seemingly on the outside looking in, getting a call in mid-March that the Jets and new general manager Mike Maccagnan along with head coach Tood Bowles wanted him back. The transition was to be put on hold for a little while longer.
“I didn't feel surprised, more humbled by it. I was happy, I was humbled,” Colon said. “Just glad it worked out.”