Prior to Sunday night’s Green and White practice — the last public practice of the season — Jets center Ryan Kalil couldn’t contain his excitement.
It was Kalil’s first practice participating in team drills since he came out of his brief retirement to join the Jets after 12 seasons with the Panthers.
“Everyone was making fun of me, I was pacing the locker room like 30 minutes before anybody else was dressed,” Kalil said following practice. “It’s why I came back. I love football. I just do. We all do. It took me walking away to know that it was done that I really wanted it to not to be done quite yet.
“So, I’m so fired up. I really am. I’m nervous, obviously, because I want to do well and I want to play well and I want to contribute, but that’ll come and we’ll just keep rolling.”
Kalil wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s feeling rusty after his eight months off, but he admitted that it’s been a slow start. Getting back into studying a playbook hasn’t been easy, but he expects it all to come together with more reps.
Physically, Kalil said he feels good, but he doesn’t believe he’s back in football shape just yet.
“Yes, I think [I was comfortable with how the Jets eased me back in]. We talked about it early on and we’ve just been communicating day by day,” Kalil said. “And I felt like I was ready to start getting out on team reps. It’s hard to play when you don’t know the plays, when you don’t know the calls especially.
“But all plays I’ve done before, all the calls I’ve done before. They’re just all different terms, all different code names so they don’t have a Rosetta Stone for this. It’s just like learning a new language.”
Safety Marcus Maye practiced fully for the first time Sunday night after participating in a no-contact jersey because of a shoulder injury. Gase says he is leaning toward playing Maye in Saturday’s preseason game with the Saints.
Gase said he doesn’t expect guards Kelechi Osemele and Brian Winters to be back in time for Saturday, however.
“I think KO [Osemele] looks like he’s going to start bugging me about going out to practice this week. But, as of right now, I don’t really have plans for those guys playing,” Gase said. “I really like how the two guys [ Tom Compton and Alex Lewis ] that filled in for them played this last game. I think Alex needs more reps. He was kind of on a pitch count because he really hasn’t had a ton of practice and both of those guys did a great job in the game.”
Right tackle Brandon Shell’s knee injury was “more of a scare,” according to Gase. Right cornerback Trumaine Johnson is most likely to be ready in time for Week 1, but is still “day-to-day.” … Gase says Taylor Bertolet will continue to be the primary kicker, and as of now, will start Week 1.