After failing his physical at the Jets’ training facility on Thursday morning, running back Joe McKnight was a noticeable omission from the team’s check-in day at SUNY Cortland. It turns out cramps and his ridiculously low body fat was to blame.
Now entering his fourth year in the league, McKnight still hasn’t shed the stigma of his first offseason when he threw up midway through a session at rookie minicamp. Last year when he jokingly claimed he put on size after eating consistently at McDonald’s — a joke the media ran with. But now McKnight is looking to shed the label of being out of shape, despite the most recent setback of a failed physical prior to preseason.
“Probably everybody thinks I wasn’t working out,” McKnight said. “I was working out at the [Jets] facility with them, so I was working. I just didn’t finish the test but I came back the next morning and finished the whole test.”
Rather than being overweight or out of shape, he needs to put on weight. Currently, McKnight’s body fat is 3.3 percent but he said he needs to get up to five or six percent body fat by the start of the season.
“I just got to get my body fat up to keep me from cramping a lot and just stay hydrated,” McKnight said. “It’s hard drinking a lot all day because at the middle of the night you keep getting up and going to the bathroom, but it’s something I have to stay focused on.”
He took the physical again on Friday and completed it this time and was cleared to practice. He was on the field again on Saturday, and not surprisingly McKnight got dehydrated.
“I was just cramping. That’s the only thing that’s bothering me right now is cramping,” McKnight said. “I’m not out of shape. I worked out the whole time at the facility. They can’t say I’m out of shape.”
McKnight’s offseason regimen included working out with former teammate Bart Scott and hiring a track coach to help him with his already elusive speed. He is considered one of the best kickoff returners in the league.
Now in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal, McKnight wants to extend his time with the Jets.
“This is my last year and I want to stay here,” McKnight said. “I know what I have to do to stay.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from Cortland.