East Rutherford, NJ - Football is, by it's very nature a violent sport, but sometimes the actual game and the final score is not the most important thing to happen on the field and today was one of those days.
Lorenzo Mauldin suffered a scary head and neck injury after getting a sack in the fourth quarter of the Jets 31-10 victory over the Browns. The stadium erupted after the sack as the ball was knocked loose and Darrelle Revis returned the fumble but an eerie silence fell over the stadium as everyone started to realize Mauldin was seriously hurt.
Mauldin attempted to stand up and immediately fell face first back to the ground before having to be carted off the field and taken to the hospital for further evaluation. After the game, as happy as the Jets players were to get the victory, there was a somber tone in the locker room as Mauldin's injury was discussed.
"Man, I don't really know what happened with him," Chris Ivory said. "When I was running out on the field I could see he was getting up, I just saw him get weak and he fell again and after that it just looked like his eyes rolled into the back of his head. After that, I'm not sure what else happened, he was just there, eyes closed."
The concern in the locker room wasn't about football anymore it was about the overall health and physical well-being of the rookie linebacker. The first thing you look for in a situation like that, where the player is strapped down riding in the cart, is any sign of movement, but Todd Bowles said, "He had very little, from what I saw."
"It's tough because that's your player who just came back from an injury," Bowles said. "He was working hard at getting back. He got back to play in the opener. He was running around doing some good things, and for him to go down like that, first your heart goes out to him and his family. After that, it goes out to his teammates. You just hope he's not seriously hurt."
The Mauldin injury was easily the sacriest and most concerning injury but Antonio Cromartie might have very well suffered a season-ending injury himself. Cromartie was just busy playing football, covering his receiver and you could see his knee buckle as he suffered a non-contact injury and was clearly in a lot of pain. Any time you see an injury like that the fear is always an ACL tear but Bowles didn't have any updates immediately after the game.
Marcus Williams, who had an excellent training camp, filled in for Cromartie and immediately made his impact felt as he made a handful of nice plays including a huge interception.
"Marcus played very well. He did what he does in practice everyday," Bowles said. "To be a young player, the game is not too big for him. He's just about the business. He understands what he has to do. He is not scared of anyone out there. He is not scared to be on an island. I feel like he's a six or seven year player. He's one of my favorite players."
While the loss of Cromartie for an extended period of time would certainly hurt the Jets secondary they are deep enough at the position to overcome such a loss.
"It's a big blow because he's a good player. We brought him here to be a good player, but we have a lot of young guys behind him," Bowles said. "We have a lot of good corners. It's one of our deepest positions. We have Buster Skrine, Marcus (Williams), Darrin Walls, Dexter McDougle and Dee Milliner coming back. We have guys in the building who can go out and play."