On Sunday morning, midway through practice, tight end Josh Baker took a hit that caused his helmet to jar and a stream of blood to pour out from his nose.
Forced to the sideline and then to the locker room for a good chunk of plays, he had to wear a red, no-contact pinnie upon his return to the field for the rest of practice. The injury came during the first time all camp the Jets were in pads.
Come Monday, Baker was on the field again wearing his traditional white No. 45 jersey, a full go after the shakeup from the day before.
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“It was one of those freak things. I didn’t know that my nose was broken, I just knew it was bleeding a lot,” Baker said. “[The medical staff] knew; I didn’t. I just wanted to get back out there on the field. They wouldn’t let me.”
Bloody accidents aside, it has been a solid camp for Baker, a second-year tight end who had three catches for 27 yards last year, including a touchdown catch in the Week 16 loss to the Giants.
Baker played most of his college football at Delaware before spending a final season at Division II Northwest Missouri State. He can play H-back and line up at tight end and has become a favorite target of quarterback Tim Tebow.
Baker is likely to see more playing this season as both a backup to tight end Dustin Keller and fullback John?Conner. Tony Sparano’s transition back to a more physical and less vertical offense means Baker could see more catches out of the backfield for short gains.
“It hurt a lot, bad pain for sure,” Baker said of the broken nose. “But I wanted to get back out there yesterday, even if it meant wearing that red jersey — and I wanted to be out there today and 100 percent involved. I’ve got a job to do, and I want to go out there and do it.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from camp in Cortland.