“I’m feeling great, continuing to get stronger,” Barnes said (Metro New York, June 8). “I’m getting there. It does feel better, it really does. I feel it getting stronger. I’m probably past 70 percent at this point. I think it will continue to get better and continue to not just heal, but get stronger.”
Barnes is recovering from an ACL tear that occurred during Week 5 of the 2013 season. Prior to his injury Barnes was playing roughly 40% of the team's snaps as a situational pass-rusher.
Barnes feels optimistic, but will abide by whatever timing the Jets medical staff tells him.
“I will let the trainers and the medical staff handle all that. I don’t put put timetables [on injuries], I just want to do work,” Barnes said. “But everyday I’m feeling better and I feel progress. It’s good. You don’t want to push too hard, hurry back too fast. Then you get hurt again and that doesn’t help this team."
Cunningham working with nickel defense (TJB, June 6)
Bassett: There's depth at OLB if you are looking in the right place (TJB, June 7)
The Jets could certainly use more veteran experience and depth at the linebacker spot. Last season in just four full games Barnes hurried (5), hit (4) or sacked (2) the quarterback at least once in each contest. The presence of Antwan Barnes was definitely felt by opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks. Getting him back and healthy could be a big help to the Jets defense, but after drafting two players at OLB in IK Enemkpali and Trevor Reilly it could be a numbers game for Barnes.
Head coach Rex Ryan knows Barnes very well from their days together in Baltimore, so expect Ryan to do everything he can to keep the skilled situational pass-rusher on the Jets roster.