Jets’ Robert Saleh addresses Mekhi Becton’s criticism: ‘It’s not about finger pointing’
New York Jets first-round pick Mekhi Becton blamed Robert Saleh’s decision to switch him to right tackle as the reason why he suffered a season-ending knee injury last year.
But during a press conference on Tuesday, Saleh declined “to get into the negative of all of it,” and instead praised Becton for his progress during the offseason.
In an interview with Newsday published over the weekend, Becton discussed his dissatisfaction with being moved to right tackle and said the change and ultimately the coaches’ dismissal of his concerns led to his 2022 season being cut short.
MEKHI BECTON BLAMES JETS COACHES FOR 2022 SEASON-ENDING INJURY: ‘NO ONE CARED’
“It made no sense to put me at right tackle,” he told the outlet. “I hurt my right knee. That’s going to be the knee that I put the most pressure on [while backpedaling in pass protection]. I explained it [to the coaches], but no one cared.”
“I got forced to play a position I don’t play, and then I was pretty much telling them I wasn’t feeling good the whole time throughout camp, and I was told I shouldn’t be complaining,” he continued. “Go out there and do it. I was limping throughout the whole practice, and I just took a step and my knee buckled and I got hurt again and had to get reconstructive surgery.”
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Saleh was asked about Becton’s criticisms ahead of Tuesday’s OTA’s, but he declined to fire back.
“I’m not going to get into the negative of all of it,” he said. “It’s not about finger pointing. What I’m focused on, though, is over the last six months Mekhi has done an unbelievable job of getting his weight down to where it’s a healthy weight that’s sustainable. He’s been available during OTAs. He’s been prompt and very diligent with regards to meetings. I think he’s probably in the best shape of his life. He’s got a smile on his face and he’s attacking it. That’s what is most important.”
“Whatever happened in the past, happened in the past. It’s not about finger pointing. It’s about moving forward,” Saleh continued.
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The upcoming season will be a crucial one for the fourth-year tackle. The Jets declined Becton’s fifth-year option earlier this month. Saleh said Tuesday that Becton may still be needed at right tackle, and he’ll be competing against others for the starting spot.
“We have a lot of really good tackles right now that are competing to be one of the two tackles that are on the football field. It will be a good, healthy competition and those that attack it with the right mindset will wind up reaping the benefits.”