NY Jets TE Tyler Conklin feared NFL career was over before it had even begun

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Tyler Conklin is coming off a career year but the new New York Jets TE was fearing he may not have even had an NFL career on his first day as a senior.

Conklin finished with 61 catches for 593 yards last year at the Minnesota Vikings before being picked up by the Jets in free agency. But his career could have been oh so different following a freak injury.

"I was just running, it was the first one on one, I ran a route and fractured the outside of my foot," he explained to Daily Star Sport .

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"You're so close to that dream, so close to something you've been wanting to make come true for so long. [And then] Something happens that's out of your control."

It got Conklin, now 27, down for a while but the tight end battled back after plenty of time spent on the sidelines.

"It was hard, I cried every time I went to football for about two weeks," he added. "I didn't know if I was going to be able to red shirt and come back and have an extra year because I already had the red shirt when I transferred.

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"I ended up having to have a test game. I could come back and if I got hurt that game I could still red shirt and have an extra year. Or if I felt good, I could come back and play the rest of the season.

"But if I got hurt after that game then I wouldn't be able to red shirt, so that'd be it. I came back, had a good game, finished playing the last six and now we're here."

Conklin wasn't the only tight end the Jets bought in this off season. CJ Uzomah also joined during free agency while Jeremy Ruckert was drafted in the third round.

Second-year quarterback Zach Wilson is set to miss at least the first four games of the season with a knee injury, with Joe Flacco named the starting QB.

But Conklin is used to being in a battle, having transformed from a basketball player into football, with the help of a few plates of food.

"I graduated high school, I was same height so 6'3, 6'4, and 185lbs, so I was skinny," he said. "Basketball player then but when I first got to football, I might have been 200lbs.

"I'd slowly put that on but I'm 250, 255 now. My freshman year of college to my senior year, I probably put on 50lbs.

"Eat what you want for sure but when you're allowed to eat what you want, eating becomes a little less fun. When you have to eat, you're like 'Another meal, more food?' And wake up with stomach aches. It sounds good but when you're forced to eat, it's not as appealing."

The Jets start the season by welcoming the Baltimore Ravens to MetLife Stadium, and Conklin is hopeful of getting the year off on the right foot.

He said: "We've got to go out there every week and control what we can control. You're going to have losses and have to bounce back and win games, going to lose tough games, but you've just got to win more than you lose.

"There are no easy games. We like our match-up this week, they've got some special talent but we are a physical team and we'll play with our style."


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