Tevin Coleman out to prove he can lead Jets running backs

Combine recent knee and shoulder injuries with a 28th birthday and suddenly running back an NFL is considered geriatric.

And yet Tevin Coleman is still a decade younger than Frank Gore, who was the Jets’ chief rush last season. And he’s a lot cheaper than Levon Bell, who flopped during his tenure with the Jets. So, what’s left with Coleman?

“I think I have a lot left in my tank to prove myself,” Coleman said. “I’m a fast man, I’m a strong man, I’m big.”

Coleman is a running-back committee veteran that includes rookies Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, L’Michael Perrin and Austin Walter, all of whom are 24 or younger. He never had a 1,000-yard rushing season, but he had 36 touchdowns in 78 games towering over 4,161 yards and a combined output of the other four.

“Whenever they put me on the field, I’m going to bowl,” Coleman said. “I’m going to do my thing, go out there and pretend.”

tevin coleman
Tevin Coleman shakes hands with Zach Wilson.
bill costroun

Coleman was limited to eight games with the 49ers last season, but declared himself “back at 100 percent.” He is one of the few players who, following Jets coach Robert Saleh and 49ers offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, have made for a smooth transition.

“That’s pure gas,” Saleh said. “When he has the ball in his hand and he bites it, it is as if he has shot from a cannon. The ball is in his hands when it comes to making positive yards. And, his leadership, his on-the-field behaviour, his practice habits, he represents what we want.”

WR Jamieson Crowder and franchise-tagged safety Marcus May stay away from voluntary OTAs as contract talks continue. The mandatory minicamp is ahead. Under league rules, players are fined $93,000 for skipping on all three days.

Saleh said he hoped everyone would attend. He has exchanged text messages with Mei, but “nothing.”

Rookie QB Zach Wilson had 7 out of 11 passes in team periods during seven drills (safety JT Hasel intercepted a deflection) and 10 out of 13 (including 3 out of 5 in the red zone). His favorite targets were Braxton Berrios (six receptions) and rookie Elijah Moore, who are taking advantage of Crowder’s absence from both slots.

According to special team coordinator Brant Boyer, Moore and Carter are at the facility daily at 6:30 a.m.

“It’s a really good sign for young kids, who get it early, on how to be a professional and how to prepare and care for their bodies,” Boyer said. “Because it’s not always the case. A lot of people have to be bullied, and these kids are self-starters.”

Play of the day was a diving breakup from CB Justin Hardy to James Morgan pass on the goal line. Boyer was “enthusiastic” about signing Hardy, who could provide stability after the Jets used 13 different gunners on the punt team last season.

WR Corey Davis and OT Mekhi Becton coached the team, while safety Ashton Davies withdrew from a leg injury that landed him on the IR last season. Saleh announced that Davis would be ready for training camp.

Jets signed security Sharrod Nesman. He played 57 career games for the Falcons.


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