It has not been an easy offseason for Jets first-round pick Dee Milliner.
First, the former Alabama cornerback underwent should surgery this spring following his participation in the NFL Combine, a procedure that kept him on the sidelines and rehabbing through offseason workouts and June’s minicamp. Then, Milliner went through a contract holdout that cost him the first several days of training camp, putting him slightly behind physically and with the playbook. Now a calf injury that shelved him for last Saturday’s preseason game will again bench him for this Thursday’s preseason finale against the Eagles.
“It’s very disappointing. I want to be out there on the field,” Milliner said. “I want to be out with my teammates out there, doing what they’re doing, helping them out. I just want to be out there and get into things before the regular season comes.”
His inability to get on the field is a blow for a Jets secondary that lost their top three safeties from a year ago in addition to trading away perennial Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis just prior to the NFL Draft. Milliner, who plays with a unique blend of physicality and breaks to the ball very well, is an ideal fit for a Jets 3-4 defense that calls on a cornerback to press.
The No. 9 overall pick doesn’t view the setbacks as putting him behind in his acclimation to playing on Sundays.
“No, I don’t think it has,” Milliner said. “Just to be out there and get more reps would have helped me but I don’t think it put me behind at all. The same way when I first got back.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.