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Heading into the offseason, many New York Jets fans were outspoken in voicing that there was a legitimate question mark at offensive tackle between George Fant and Mekhi Becton as the projected starters. Even now, some still appear to have their doubts.
Fant is a 30-year old free agent in 2023, but the majority of the concerns stem more from the soon-to-be 23-year old nonetheless. After all, Becton played less than 50% of snaps in five games as a rookie and missed his entire sophomore campaign outside of 48 snaps in Week 1.
In 2021, the former first-round pick’s continued absence was duly noted by critics following an initial timeline of “four to six weeks” and even “four to five weeks” — according to insiders Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport. Yesterday on April 9, however, Becton’s personal trainer decided to set the record straight about his client’s arduous recovery once and for all.
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Manyweather Sounds off for Becton
The original fan comment in question speculated on Becton’s availability for OTAs while referring to the knee dislocation and MCL sprain as a “4 week injury” — based on the initial reports. It was enough to catch the attention of offensive line scout and trainer Duke Manyweather, who has been working with the young Jets tackle.
Disclaimer: His response was filled with multiple expletives.
“Ok, This s*** needs to stop,” he voiced boldly. “Becton’s injury was never f****** 4 weeks, 8 weeks or a 12 week return! His s*** was serious. Just please ST*U with the BS.”
After the fan followed up with a link, Manyweather continued: “Yes and everything media post is always accurate, right?! FALSE and the fact you sent that to me, like it’s supposed to change my knowledge of the situation…”
Whether there was a setback or a total misdiagnosis in the rehab timeline is up for debate, but head coach Robert Saleh’s consistent explanation has been that Becton’s naturally enormous frame made it more challenging for him to recover from an injury like the one he suffered.
There could be some truth to that but according to Manyweather, the initial return date set the left tackle up for failure.
During an interview with WFAN’s Tiki & Tierney in January, former fan-favorite center Nick Mangold echoed this point. “I hate when people put out the timeframe,” he stated. “If you come back early, [people say] oh you’re just trying to show off [and] if it takes you six weeks, they’re like why’d it take you so long to get healthy?”
Whatever ever happened in 2021, the only fact is that it’s in the past, and Becton looks as motivated as ever to secure his future in New York.
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Becton Workout Videos Are ‘Getting out of Hand’
Keep in mind that the talented blocker is still working his way back from injury, so some of his early workout videos with Manyweather were lightweight for a man of his size. The trainer has since kicked it up a notch, posting Becton’s progress in rigorous updates on his Instagram story.
Heavy on Jets reporter Paul Esden Jr. shared the latest clips on Twitter, and they’ve impressed more and more as Becton rebuilds his power.
On March 25, the Louisville product was recorded shoulder pressing several small plates, then walking with a 135-pound dumbbell in each hand.
Then on April 5, Manyweather posted Becton benching 405 pounds with relative ease.
The last one left Esden and many NYJ supporters amazed. The Heavy reporter tweeted: “These Mekhi Becton (@BigTicket73) workout videos are getting out of hand. I mean GOOD LORD that is over 400 total pounds he’s carrying! Also he’s wearing a brand new ‘Big Bust’ hoodie, you could say he has a few chips on his shoulder.”
Becton’s efforts have quelled the thoughts of the Jets drafting a first-round offensive tackle on April 28 for most, but a contingent of the fanbase is still uncertain. They have to see it on the field before they believe it — which even Manyweather would probably agree is fair.
For now, the hulking blocker will continue to use his doubters as motivation. He has already changed his profile name on Twitter to “BIG BUST 77,” and Becton even rocks big bust apparel from time to time.
Don’t look now, but the 2020 first-round talent has transformed himself into an underdog story, and this is one bandwagon you do not want to try and stop.