Recovery Complete, McGraw set to Go
Everything was set for Jon McGraw to have a breakout year. McGraw was anointed the Jets starting free safety last spring after the Green & White parted ways with veteran Damien Robinson. And McGraw would have the opportunity to prove his worth on a Jets team that was coming off back-to-back postseason appearances.
But things spiraled downward for McGraw. His team sputtered early, dropping their first four contests. When the Jets finally earned their first victory over Buffalo on October 12, McGraw sustained a subluxed right shoulder. He played through the injury during the win, but found himself on the inactive list for games six through nine.
“It was extremely frustrating,” McGraw said. “Injuries have always been the most frustrating part of football for me, but that’s part of the game.”
McGraw worked diligently in rehab and returned to start game 10 at Indianapolis. He was one of the better performers on a day the Jets were outgunned by the Colts 38-31. After 10 tackles and nine solo stops, McGraw was forced to leave the game because of the shoulder injury. On November 17, Jon McGraw was placed on injured reserve and the Kansas State alum had season-ending surgery four days later.
Faced with adversity, McGraw attempted to keep things in perspective.
“Football is extremely important to me, but it is not the most important thing,” McGraw said. “There are a lot of things that are going on outside of football – my faith and my family. As long as I keep everything in perspective, then nothing will ever be too big for me to handle. That is what I tried to do last year. I did the best I could and sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them too.”
McGraw is carefree on this morning. He has put the past behind and has even been able to find some positives from last season’s trying campaign.
“I was able to get a headstart on the recovery process and consequently, I have been able to get a jumpstart on our offseason program,” McGraw said. “I feel like I am on pace.”
When McGraw takes the field later this month, he’ll be looking at a couple of new backfield ‘mates. Cornerback Aaron Beasley and strong safety Sam Garnes were released and free agents David Barrett (Arizona) and Reggie Tongue (Seattle) were signed to take their respective spots.
“You have to have good communication and a good feel for each other in the secondary,” McGraw said. “Everything happens so fast, so you don’t have time to mess around trying to communicate. Unfortunately, that takes a little bit of time. I do know that David and Reggie are great athletes who are going to be great acquisitions for this team.”
New secondary coach Doug Graber can only teach so much in the classroom. It will be essential for McGraw and his fellow d-backs to get a feel for each other and their position coach on the playing field. Even holdover corner Donnie Abraham started just twice in 2003 after fracturing a right shoulder.
“I actually have spent some time with coach Graber chatting about all sorts of things,” McGraw said. “It’s funny because you never really know a coach until he takes the field. You have a different relationship with a coach on the field than off the field.”
If McGraw ever doubts his health, he can look no further back than his collegiate days at Kansas State. McGraw had to have his left shoulder reconstructed while playing under Bill Snyder.
“I had to get my other shoulder done in college,” McGraw said. “I am familiar with the rehab process. Usually with a serious injury, getting your mind right is usually harder than getting your shoulder right. I think having been through it will help.”
In the end, McGraw believes he will be stronger than ever.
“There are two schools of thought on injuries,” McGraw said. “The guy’s had a lot of injuries, so he’s injury prone. But the way I look at it is this guy has had a lot of injuries, but he has a lot of courage too. He has the ability to play through pain and put in the extra work in order to get better. That’s the approach I take. After surgery, your shoulder is stronger than it was prior to the injury.”
all i need to know about McGraw is what is his playing weight? if he shows up at 6-3 200 again he's only gonna get hurt again. This kid needed 20 lb of rip in the worst way, he looked like a punter last year.