Colon puts durability issues behind him

With a history of injuries derailing an otherwise outstanding NFL career, lineman Willie Colon realizes the key to the offensive line's success is for him to stay healthy throughout the season. Find out how New York's prized free agent signing is feeling better than ever with training camp on the horizon.

The 2012 season ended in shambles for the New York Jets. There were many faults to the team and there was not just one person or one difference that would have changed the outcome.

One of many problems for the Jets last season was the offensive line. The offensive line never seemed to get on the same page and they struggled throughout most of the year. A top priority for the Jets' front office this past offseason was to bolster the offensive line. With the losses of guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore, the Jets needed to find replacements for their front five. Lucky for the Jets, help was on the way.

Soon after the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have parted ways with veteran Willie Colon, the Jets' front office pulled the trigger and signed Willie to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

The reason for Colon's release from the Steelers was due to his durability issues. Colon has had injury problems the past few years; missing five games in 2012 due to a knee injury, 15 games in 2011 due to a torn triceps, and missed all of 2010 due to an Achilles injury.

"Right now, I'm working my tail off to be healthy," said Colon of his injury history. "This is an amazing training staff. John Mellody and his whole staff are doing an amazing job with me. I feel good — I feel great."

Colon is looking for redemption and he is striving to become the healthy player he was back in 2009, when the Steelers went on to win Super Bowl XLIII.

During the Super Bowl run, Colon was known for being a hard-nosed, tough lineman. He was also very versatile and could play tackle or guard in most offenses. At either position, Colon was considered one of the best run blocking lineman in the game from 2007-2009. His style of play in the Steel City is no different than the style that is expected of him to transfer onto the field in New York.

"We want to set the tone," declared Colon. "We want to be the aggressors. We want to be the bullies on the block. If it goes both ways, we're going to have success."

After 7 years in Pittsburgh, the veteran guard is feeling comfortable with his new team.

"I'm really excited about the guys in the [locker] room," noted Colon. "I have a great offensive line coach in Coach (Mike) Devlin" and "I'm going to go out there and compete, fight hard and get after it."

Not only is he comfortable, Colon is very confident in his teammates. Colon thinks that the offensive line and their offensive schemes will lead the Jets to success.

"We have the right guys to do it," offered Colon. "It's about us up front executing and really getting after guys. "We have to outwork the rest of the NFL — that's the bottom line." "Our job is to flat out show up on Sunday and give ‘em hell."

Even though Colon may be one of the new faces in the locker room this year, he is not new to New York. Colon was born in the Bronx and went to college at Hofstra University on Long Island. When asked how he felt about coming back to New York to play for the Jets, he responded with:

"In this league being hurt three straight years and not knowing if you're ever going to lace it up again, it rattles your head and it rattles your soul," admitted Colon. "So when I got the call to come home to be a Jet and be a part of Rex Ryan's club, for me it was a pride factor that: 1.) I'm blessed to have a job 2.) I'm blessed to come home and 3.) I'm blessed to come home and do what I love to do."

The very humble and passionate Colon is excited to get another shot at playing the game he loves and he is ready to take the field for his hometown team. Gang Green is hopeful that Colon's homecoming will strengthen the offensive line and bring a healthy and successful season for both their prized free agent lineman and a new front office regime.

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