Jonotthan Harrison’s days on the New York Jets’ line may be numbered with Ryan Kalil’s arrival, but he’s remaining positive in the interim.
Across the country, many a promotion has been ruined when the front office hires a more experienced, accomplished veteran to perform the same task. Unlike Jonotthan Harrison’s situation, however, it’s not a nationally televised contest in the most scrutinized sports area of the world.
Harrison is a New York Jets offensive lineman during one of the most crucial points on the franchise timeline. New York is grooming Sam Darnold, the quarterback expected to lead them onward in this offensive-dominated future of the NFL. As a center, Harrison is the one who gets the ball to the touted Darnold.
Many a great quarterback has experienced football Nirvana alongside a trusted center. Peyton Manning, for example, was rarely seen without the protection of Jeff Saturday during their shared time in Indianapolis.
Harrison seemed poised to at least compete for that opportunity. He took over center duties from Spencer Long late last season, just as Darnold returned from injury. This summer has seen Harrison listed at the top of the depth chart. Everything changed when the Jets convinced accoladed center Ryan Kalil out of retirement to be Darnold’s de facto bodyguard.
True to a professional form, Harrison took the arrival of Kalil in stride, viewing it was a learning opportunity.
“We sit next to each other in the meeting room and we talk football,” Harrison said of his relationship with Kalil after the Jets’ 28-13 preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. “If some play goes sour in practice for whatever reason, we talk about what happened, talk about going over defenses, and stuff like that.”
In other words, just two teammates looking to improve each other.
Harrison appears to be simply keeping Kalil’s spot warm as the latter learns the ins and outs of the Jets’ offense. Head coach Adam Gase previously announced that Kalil would play on Saturday, but a reversal of that decision was announced by general manager Joe Douglas shortly before Saturday’s game.
Harrison was always a player who treasured every preseason snap, so this type of situation was no different.
“Any opportunity to get out there and get better is a great opportunity,” he declared. “He admitted that this preseason has been “a little bit of a roller coaster, but that’s part of the business”.
“Part of becoming a pro and being a pro is being able to handle the dips and flow. I still do my job and attack my job each day as I should no matter what the circumstances are.
“I have no clue what’s going to happen, but, whenever my number’s called, I’ll be ready.”
The Jets conclude their preseason on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles at home (7:00 p.m. ET, WCBS).