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Latest News in Florham Park, NJ

Zach Wilson cleared by doctors, will start for Jets at Pittsburgh

Florham Park, N.J. — Zach Wilson was back under center for the New York Jets, taking snaps and preparing to start for the first time this season."It's the happiest I've been in a month," the second-year quarterback said with a big smile Wednesday.Coach Robert Saleh announced Wilson will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday "if all goes well this week" at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery."Absolutely, yeah," Saleh said.Wilson had been ramping up workouts in r...

Florham Park, N.J. — Zach Wilson was back under center for the New York Jets, taking snaps and preparing to start for the first time this season.

"It's the happiest I've been in a month," the second-year quarterback said with a big smile Wednesday.

Coach Robert Saleh announced Wilson will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday "if all goes well this week" at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery.

"Absolutely, yeah," Saleh said.

Wilson had been ramping up workouts in recent weeks, but Saleh said Monday the Jets were waiting for the quarterback's doctors to clear him before making a decision about this week. Wilson was able to fully practice Wednesday as New York prepares for its game at Pittsburgh.

"I'm 100%," Wilson said. "I'm ready to go."

Wilson said he won't play with a brace or sleeve on his right knee, and insists he won't be thinking about it while he's out on the field. He also doesn't anticipate changing how he plays despite being injured in the preseason opener at Philadelphia on Aug. 12 because he was perhaps a bit too aggressive while trying to gain extra yards on a run.

"I'm full go and I'm going to be playing ball how I can," Wilson said. "If somebody comes up, make somebody miss. Get out on the edge, extend plays when I need to."

Wilson joked that he had the team's strength coach chase him around the field during practice to try to simulate the pocket breaking down and trying to avoid a pass rush.

"It's really just exciting for him to get back on the football field — it's been six weeks," Saleh said. "There's a lot of different things that have to go around in terms of making sure that we run an efficient offense. From us as coaches to the O-line to receivers running routes — everyone's involved."

Joe Flacco started the first three games of the season, during which the Jets went 1-2 — including a stunning victory at Cleveland two weeks ago when they rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 1:55.

But New York has struggled with consistency on offense and has held a lead for just 22 seconds — the final moments of the win against the Browns.

"It is exciting to get him back out there, but at the same time, it's not all about Zach," Saleh said. "It's making sure that we're executing on all cylinders, as we should every week."

Wilson suffered a bone bruise in the preseason opener against Philadelphia on Aug. 12 and needed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He was initially expected to miss two to four weeks, but the Jets insisted they wouldn't rush Wilson back to the field.

"It's frustrating, but I think everyone kind of deals with injuries," Wilson said. "It's kind of how you handle it, how you get back and how you prepare yourself to come back and still play well with missing some time."

Saleh insisted there wasn't any added concern about bringing Wilson back while the Jets deal with questions on the offensive line. Starting left tackle George Fant was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, joining Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton on the sideline.

"His knee, it's 100%," Saleh said of Wilson. "As far as the tackles go, we've got all the faith in the world in the guys we do have."

The 23-year-old Wilson is the focal point of a franchise looking to end an 11-year playoff drought — the NFL's longest active skid.

After a rookie season that was marked by early struggles, a sprained PCL that sidelined him four games and a solid finish when he returned, Wilson is being counted on to take a leap in his progress.

He appeared more confident and accurate in training camp, especially in the two weeks before he was injured.

Saleh previously acknowledged the injury this summer was a setback for Wilson because he was missing valuable practice time and snaps in preseason games.

But the coach also said Wilson was taking mental reps throughout and wouldn't need a ramp-up period before playing.

The Jets didn't put Wilson on injured reserve so he could practice with the team while he worked his way back from the injury. He participated in 7-on-7 drills last week after practice with practice squad players and backups.

"The practice aspect was very important," Saleh said. "We kept him engaged, he was fully involved in all the walkthroughs and the meetings, and was still able to get the extra work in, with regards to throwing and putting strain on the knee.

"So, he's very comfortable, he's in a great mental state and everyone's very comfortable with where he's at physically. And he's ready to roll."

New York Jets dealt another blow at offensive tackle as George Fant put on IR with QB Zach Wilson's return approaching

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets left tackle George Fant was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, their third offensive tackle to land on IR since training camp.The injury couldn't come at a worse time for the Jets, who are hoping quarterback ...

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets left tackle George Fant was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, their third offensive tackle to land on IR since training camp.

The injury couldn't come at a worse time for the Jets, who are hoping quarterback Zach Wilson returns to the lineup Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Wilson starts, his blindside will be protected by a third-string left tackle, most likely Conor McDermott, a career backup.

Fant's surgically repaired left knee has been bothering him since training camp -- the procedure was performed in the offseason -- finally forcing him to the sideline during last Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He will miss at least four games.

The Jets have endured a run of rotten luck at tackle.

In August, right tackle Mekhi Becton went down in practice with a season-ending knee injury that required surgery. They responded by signing former Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown to a two-year, $20 million contract, moving Fant to right tackle. Brown lasted seven practices and one preseason game before a serious shoulder injury forced him to IR.

Brown, 37, is eligible to return next week, although it's hardly a guarantee he will be ready to play. For now, it looks like McDermott and rookie Max Mitchell (three starts) at left and right tackle, respectively.

On Tuesday, the Jets added reinforcements, signing former Cincinnati Bengals first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi from the Houston Texans' practice squad. He was added to the Jets' 53-man roster, meaning he might be their top backup on Sunday. Ogbuehi has 30 career starts, but only five over the past four seasons. He has been released by three different teams.

They also signed veteran tackle Mike Remmers to the practice squad. He has 90 career starts, including two last season for the Kansas City Chiefs. He wasn't with a team in the preseason.

This may not bode well for Wilson, who missed three games as he recovered from arthroscopic knee surgery. Coach Robert Saleh has said he expects Wilson to be cleared by doctors for Sunday's game, pending a final evaluation.

If Wilson isn't cleared, the Jets will start Joe Flacco for the fourth straight week. He's fifth in passing yardage (901), but has led the offense to only five touchdowns and has been sacked nine times. His lack of mobility, coupled with the offensive line issues, isn't an ideal formula for the Jets (1-2).

"You're down to your fourth and fifth guys," Saleh said of the tackle situation. "At this point in the season, you don't anticipate that. ... At the end of the day, no one cares. You have to line up, you have to play football, you have to protect the quarterback.

"[Offensive coordinator Mike] LaFleur has got to find ways to protect the quarterback, no different than we did against Cleveland [in Week 2]. I got confidence in the guys that we'll figure it out."

Fant, who signed with the Jets as a free agent in 2020, has been one of the most consistent linemen, having started at both tackle spots over the past three seasons. In the final year of his contract, Fant is eligible to return in Week 8.

NFL notebook: Jets QB Wilson cleared by doctors, will start at Pittsburgh

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Zach Wilson is back under center for the New York Jets.Coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday the second-year quarterback will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday “if all goes well this week” at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery.Wilson had been ramping up workouts in recent weeks, but Saleh said Monday the Jets were waiting for the quarterback’s doctors to clear him before making a decision about this week. Wilson was cleared to fully practice Wednesday as New Y...

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Zach Wilson is back under center for the New York Jets.

Coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday the second-year quarterback will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday “if all goes well this week” at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery.

Wilson had been ramping up workouts in recent weeks, but Saleh said Monday the Jets were waiting for the quarterback’s doctors to clear him before making a decision about this week. Wilson was cleared to fully practice Wednesday as New York prepares for its game at Pittsburgh.

Joe Flacco started the first three games of the season, during which the Jets went 1-2 – including a stunning victory at Cleveland two weeks ago when they rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 1:55.

But New York has struggled with consistency on offense and has held a lead for just 22 seconds – the final moments of the win against the Browns.

Wilson suffered a bone bruise in the preseason opener against Philadelphia on Aug. 12 and needed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He was initially expected to miss 2 to 4 weeks, but the Jets insisted they wouldn’t rush Wilson back to the field.

CHIEFS: The Kansas City Chiefs are hopeful that Harrison Butker, their big-legged kicker whom they so sorely missed last week in Indianapolis, will be able to play when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Chiefs used journeyman Matt Ammendola the past two weeks in place of Butker, who sprained his plant ankle when he slipped on the shoddy turf in Arizona in Week 1.

But after a solid job in a win over the Chargers, Ammendola missed an early extra point in Indianapolis and then a chip-shot field goal that would have extended the Kansas City lead to seven.

Instead, the Colts seized the momentum and marched downfield for the go-ahead touchdown in the closing seconds, and the margin in the 20-17 loss for Kansas City wound up being that missed field goal with 8:41 left to play.

BILLS: The Buffalo Bills reinforced their injury-thinned secondary by signing veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the practice squad.

Rhodes, an All-Pro in 2017, has nine seasons of NFL experience, including the previous two years with the Indianapolis Colts. He had three interceptions in 29 starts with the Colts, and was not re-signed after his contract expired in March.

SAINTS: QB Jameis Winston said he’s preparing to start in the NFL’s first international game this year after being held out of practice with a back injury that has plagued him all season.

“They told me I wasn’t practicing. It wasn’t my choice,” Winston said. “I’m preparing like every week – preparing to play.”

Two other starters on the Saints’ offense – wide receiver Michael Thomas and tackle Ryan Ramczyk – also were not at the team’s first practice in London ahead of their game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Winston, who has also dealt with an ankle injury, has been sacked 11 times in three games for New Orleans (1-2).

BROWNS: Defensive end Myles Garrett stayed home to rest and recover from injuries suffered in a car crash as his status for Cleveland’s game on Sunday at Atlanta remains in doubt.

Garrett was not at the team’s facility two days after the All-Pro rolled over his Porsche in a single-car accident on a rural road near his home. He suffered a sprained shoulder, strained biceps, cuts and bruises in the wreck.

Garrett was hospitalized for several hours, and sheriff’s bodycam footage showed him looking dazed while being treated by medical personnel while sitting on the ground near his overturned vehicle.

The team said he cleared concussion protocol.

BUCS: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who moved their football operations to South Florida to avoid Hurricane Ian, remain hopeful of being able to return home to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.

The team practiced at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility on Wednesday, describing the experience as different, but insisting the disruption to their routine will not hinder their ability to prepare for the team they beat in the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Family members, and even some pets, accompanied players and coaches in relocating ahead of the storm making landfall on Florida’s west coast.

NFL executive Jeff Miller said the game was still scheduled to be played in Tampa on Sunday night.

Golf and cocktails not this North Jersey man's idea of retirement. He chose a unique path

Special to NorthJersey.comAfter retiring from a career in business and finance, Rakesh Jobanputra was searching for a way to give back and serve others.His search took him to a road less traveled — and he took it.“I didn't want to just retire and go and play golf or sit sipping cocktails,” said Jobanputra, 59, of Florham Park. “That's just not me. And for me, I need a challenge. I need to be in an environment helping others. And I'm selfish in that I want the reward and the satisfac...

Special to NorthJersey.com

After retiring from a career in business and finance, Rakesh Jobanputra was searching for a way to give back and serve others.

His search took him to a road less traveled — and he took it.

“I didn't want to just retire and go and play golf or sit sipping cocktails,” said Jobanputra, 59, of Florham Park. “That's just not me. And for me, I need a challenge. I need to be in an environment helping others. And I'm selfish in that I want the reward and the satisfaction of knowing I've helped others, but I'm hoping I'm a little bit selfless as well.”

Jobanputra turned to the Peace Corps after he discovered that the organization welcomes members of all ages.

“I've heard a lot about the Peace Corps, from that perspective of younger recent graduates going out and volunteering all over the world,” Jobanputra said. “I didn't realize that there was the senior part to it in terms of volunteers. Apparently, it's less than 10% and growing.”

Despite this statistic, Jobanputra was not discouraged.

“I am not feeling any concerns about working alongside young people. In fact, I hope I can share my experiences and knowledge with them as well as learn from them, too,” he said.

After the Peace Corps accepted his application, Jobanputra learned he will be one of the first volunteers to go abroad after the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly:New York resident among first Peace Corps volunteers to head overseas post-pandemic

In March 2020, the Peace Corps brought all its volunteers home. More than 7,000 volunteers were evacuated from posts in more than 60 countries. During the pandemic, the Peace Corps continued its work through a new virtual service platform, domestic deployment of volunteers to aid in the United States’ COVID-19 response, and continued work with overseas staff and partners.

Now the Peace Corps is sending volunteers, including Jobanputra, abroad once again. He will be stationed in Albania for two years.

“Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe,” Jobanputra said. “Interestingly, it’s one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. The scenery is breathtaking. But sadly, the government there bankrupted the country 20 years ago, and since then, it's been really trying to dig itself out of a really bad economic situation.”

He explained his role in the region.

“From what I understand, I will be an organizational development volunteer, and I look at that as volunteer community work [and] social work,” Jobanputra said. “And so I’ll be placed at a site, probably a rural town or village, and probably an underserved community.”

He also hopes to bring some of his experiences and interests to the role, to go above and beyond what is expected of him and to have a positive impact in the region.

“I'm hoping I'll do more, maybe in my extra time, by teaching yoga, for example. I love yoga,” Jobanputra said. “Teaching accounting skills — [I've] been in accounting for 40 years now, and I've learned a lot. So I'm looking forward to passing those skills on to folks.”

His goal is “to give more than 100%” when it comes to his volunteerism, he said. To do so, he has to leave behind his life in the United States for the two-year assignment.

“It’s daunting leaving my family for two years. However, I feel blessed after retiring early at 57 to have the opportunity of a [second] career and more along the lines of my passion to help others in a more meaningful way,” Jobanputra said. “My wife and three children, who are in their 20s, have been very supportive and encouraged me to follow my dream.”

His family has planned a trip to visit him in Albania, and he plans to travel back to the United States often. He is also hopeful that his wife, who is currently a teacher of students with special needs, will join him on future missions as a volunteer.

Jobanputra has prepared for this assignment by ensuring that his finances are in order and tying up loose ends, but moving to a new country is not an entirely new experience for him. He was born in Uganda, grew up in England and moved to the United States 21 years ago.

Erin Curran, a public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps’ Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection, said it is important to note that Peace Corps volunteers go to nations that seek their help.

“The Peace Corps doesn't come in with [ideals] about what we are going to do for them,” Curran said. “They identify what they need, and then our volunteers and our in-country staff are there to support them through that, so that they're making sustainable change in their community that they see as valuable going forward.”

Curran said the pandemic had a significant impact on the regions the organization serves.

“The pandemic has set back years of development progress, exacerbated existing inequalities, and disproportionately impacted communities where the Peace Corps serves,” Curran said. “With decades of experience contributing to large-scale public health efforts, the Peace Corps is in a unique position to provide the grassroots, community-driven support critical to global COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.”

New Jersey:Ever wonder how New Jersey compares to the rest of the country? We compiled the rankings

Curran also detailed some of the precautionary measures the Peace Corps is taking to keep its members safe.

“Of course, a COVID 19 vaccine is required for all of our volunteers that serve, but then again, I think the medical history that's reviewed as well as the medical evaluations during the clearance process are now evaluated with a different lens knowing that COVID-19 is still around and may affect volunteers,” Curran said.

As Jobanputra embarks on his mission, he said he hopes to be an inspiration for anyone who is interested in becoming a senior volunteer.

“I think it’d be nice to see more senior volunteers around the world,” he said. “And hopefully through me, they can see it is possible, it’s not that difficult and it is important for us to do.”

Wilson cleared by doctors, will start for Jets at Pittsburgh

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson was back under center for the New York Jets, taking snaps and preparing to start for the first time this season.“It's the happiest I've been in a month,” the second-year quarterback said with a big smile Wednesday.Coach Robert Saleh announced Wilson will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday “if all goes well this week” at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery.“Absolutely, yeah," Saleh said.Wilson had been ramping up wor...

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Zach Wilson was back under center for the New York Jets, taking snaps and preparing to start for the first time this season.

“It's the happiest I've been in a month,” the second-year quarterback said with a big smile Wednesday.

Coach Robert Saleh announced Wilson will make his season debut at Pittsburgh on Sunday “if all goes well this week” at practice, six weeks after having knee surgery.

“Absolutely, yeah," Saleh said.

Wilson had been ramping up workouts in recent weeks, but Saleh said Monday the Jets were waiting for the quarterback’s doctors to clear him before making a decision about this week. Wilson was able to fully practice Wednesday as New York prepares for its game at Pittsburgh.

“I'm 100%,” Wilson said. “I'm ready to go.”

Wilson said he won't play with a brace or sleeve on his right knee, and insists he won't be thinking about it while he's out on the field. He also doesn't anticipate changing how he plays despite being injured in the preseason opener at Philadelphia on Aug. 12 because he was perhaps a bit too aggressive while trying to gain extra yards on a run.

“I'm full go and I'm going to be playing ball how I can,” Wilson said. “If somebody comes up, make somebody miss. Get out on the edge, extend plays when I need to.”

Wilson joked that he had the team's strength coach chase him around the field during practice to try to simulate the pocket breaking down and trying to avoid a pass rush.

“It's really just exciting for him to get back on the football field — it's been six weeks," Saleh said. “There's a lot of different things that have to go around in terms of making sure that we run an efficient offense. From us as coaches to the O-line to receivers running routes — everyone's involved.”

Joe Flacco started the first three games of the season, during which the Jets went 1-2 — including a stunning victory at Cleveland two weeks ago when they rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 1:55.

But New York has struggled with consistency on offense and has held a lead for just 22 seconds — the final moments of the win against the Browns.

“It is exciting to get him back out there, but at the same time, it's not all about Zach," Saleh said. "It's making sure that we're executing on all cylinders, as we should every week.”

Wilson suffered a bone bruise in the preseason opener against Philadelphia on Aug. 12 and needed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He was initially expected to miss two to four weeks, but the Jets insisted they wouldn’t rush Wilson back to the field.

“It's frustrating, but I think everyone kind of deals with injuries,” Wilson said. “It's kind of how you handle it, how you get back and how you prepare yourself to come back and still play well with missing some time.”

Saleh insisted there wasn't any added concern about bringing Wilson back while the Jets deal with questions on the offensive line. Starting left tackle George Fant was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, joining Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton on the sideline.

“His knee, it's 100%,” Saleh said of Wilson. “As far as the tackles go, we've got all the faith in the world in the guys we do have.”

The 23-year-old Wilson is the focal point of a franchise looking to end an 11-year playoff drought — the NFL’s longest active skid.

After a rookie season that was marked by early struggles, a sprained PCL that sidelined him four games and a solid finish when he returned, Wilson is being counted on to take a leap in his progress.

He appeared more confident and accurate in training camp, especially in the two weeks before he was injured.

Saleh previously acknowledged the injury this summer was a setback for Wilson because he was missing valuable practice time and snaps in preseason games.

But the coach also said Wilson was taking mental reps throughout and wouldn’t need a ramp-up period before playing.

The Jets didn’t put Wilson on injured reserve so he could practice with the team while he worked his way back from the injury. He participated in 7-on-7 drills last week after practice with practice squad players and backups.

“The practice aspect was very important,” Saleh said. "We kept him engaged, he was fully involved in all the walkthroughs and the meetings, and was still able to get the extra work in, with regards to throwing and putting strain on the knee.

“So, he's very comfortable, he's in a great mental state and everyone's very comfortable with where he's at physically. And he's ready to roll.”

NOTES: LB Quincy Williams didn't practice after suffering a high ankle sprain last Sunday against Cincinnati. “He's doing a lot better,” Saleh said of Williams, who was carted off the field with what appeared an even more serious injury. ... CB Brandin Echols (hamstring) and DL John Franklin-Myers (toe) were limited at practice.

___

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