New York Jets’ Mekhi Becton having MRI on surgically repaired knee; coach Robert Saleh optimistic

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — New York Jets right tackle Mekhi Becton has an MRI on his surgically repaired right knee after limping from the practice field Monday with apparent pain.

According to the Jets, the injury doesn’t appear to be serious, but any time lost is potentially significant as Becton struggles with weight and conditioning issues.

“It doesn’t seem like a big deal at the moment but – knock on wood – hopefully it stays that way,” said coach Robert Saleh, who described the MRI as a precautionary measure.

The 2020 first-round pick injured his right knee in the 2021 season opener and never played again, although the team initially said it was a four- to six-week return from surgery.

On Monday he worked his way through early attacking drills, checking his knee and moving cautiously. A few minutes later, in the second game of an 11-on-11 period, Becton fell backwards after being rocked by defensive end John Franklin-Myers. His right foot seemed to catch on the grass, possibly causing his knee to bend awkwardly.

Becton removed his shoulder pads and immediately hobbled to the dressing room with members of the training staff. He started wearing a knee brace last Friday, an indication he may be unwell.

The injury came two days after the Jets hosted free-agent tackle Duane Brown, who was attending the Jets’ annual Green & White scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. They remain interested in Brown, a five-time Pro Bowl pick who turns 37 on Aug. 30.

With Becton injured and backup swing tackle Conor McDermott out for a week or two with a sprained ankle, there’s a greater sense of urgency to add an experienced tackle. George Fant, who starts with the left tackle, has also returned from knee surgery although he is healthy and training.

Saleh downplayed the team’s interest in Brown, saying they had “so much great talent” in the tackle and that Brown would be a luxury.

“It doesn’t panic in my head at all,” Saleh said. “A guy like Duane is a bonus.”

Nevertheless, there must be concerns about Becton’s injury history. He’s started just 14 of 33 games over two seasons, including six games he didn’t finish due to various injuries. His weight became a major storyline last season when he grew to around 400 pounds while recovering from surgery.

He was overweight at June minicamp, which frustrated the organization, but he trained at the facility prior to training camp and reported in acceptable shape. Saleh praised Becton for surviving the first nine training sessions as he worked his way back into football shape.

Now it could be a challenge if he has to miss the time.

“We’ll see if he takes time off,” Saleh said. “Obviously you’re concerned for everyone. … They just don’t want to get into a conditioning deficit. He’s a big man. He worked his ass off and did everything he was asked to do. Hopefully, he checks out well like we think and he can continue on this track. I think he will be fine.

Late Monday, the Jets added veteran depth by signing well-travelled veteran Caleb Benenoch, a source confirmed to ESPN. Benenoch, 28, has 23 starts in five seasons, including 22 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2016-2019. He spent most of last season on the New Orleans Saints practice team and started with one game at the end of the year. New York Jets’ Mekhi Becton having MRI on surgically repaired knee; coach Robert Saleh optimistic

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