Abraham was very limited at the minicamp, being held out of a few practices, and now we know why. No announcement was made by the team about the surgery, so the assumption made by reporters was that the team was just being cautious with Abraham after his season-ending groin pull in 2003. The Jets organization is being much more restrictive with the information they are disseminating. After three years of being very open with the media, Jets brass has decided that they were better off with the tight-lipped approach of the Bill Parcells-Bill Belichick-Al Groh era. According to a Jets source, being so open was putting the Jets at a "competitive disadvantage."
But getting back to Abraham, a doctor who examined the groin injury before the surgery said to the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, "I'm surprised you could walk on that."
Some people were critical of Abraham for how long he was out with the injury, but that was extremely unfair. He was seriously hurt, and deserves credit for even trying to come back against Jacksonville. Remember he played the first half of that game, but then had to be shutdown for good because of the groin problem. Anybody that intimates that Abraham is a "dog" or "underachiever" as the New York Post branded him is wrong. He walked around the Jets complex, while he was sidelined, in a depressed mood. Some people said he was "moping", but the bottom line is he loves playing football, and it bothered him deeply that he couldn't. We hear at one point he asked a Jets official why his photo was still on the wall since he isn't contributing. Anybody who questions his heart, or labels him an "underachiever" like the Post did unfairly, doesn't understand the guy. And like we mentioned in a previous column, wouldn't a lot of teams love to have an "underachiever" who had four sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles in one quarter before suffering the groin injury, and essentially ending his season. People who question Abraham as a player are misguided. He made two Pro Bowls in a row and was probably on his way to a third, especially after his tour-de-force in Philadelphia, but then the injury came to pass.
These groin issues clearly concern Abraham and the Jets. Having groin surgery twice in four years, obviously isn't a good thing, and could hurt Abraham in free agency after this season. The tightly-muscled, sinewy Abraham seems like a pull waiting to happen. Remember before the groin injury last year, he was hobbled by a pulled hamstring. Clearly, the Jets are going to wait to see how Abraham holds up, and fits the new defense, before making any long-term commitment to him. Don't expect any contract extension talk to occur until after this season. Also the team wants to see if his DUI last year was an aberration, or more of a deep-seated problem.
The Jets are going to try to cut-down on the contact that Abraham withstands by having him play a standup position, like a linebacker, at times. Some in the Jets organization feel the constant pounding Abraham takes from opposing offensive tackles, many of whom outweigh him by 50 pounds or more, has taken it's toll on the South Carolina-product. They feel having him play in space more could help him stay healthier. But you could make the argument that running around covering running backs or tight ends, could actually be more hazardous for the long-legged Abraham, considering how given to pulled muscles he is.
But while there has been a lot of talk that Abraham playing linebacker this year, according to a Jets source, there is a very good chance he is going to spend most of his time with "his hand in the dirt." That is another way of saying he is going to play defensive end most of the time.
As for the latest groin surgery, the team expects Abraham to be 100 percent by the beginning of training camp.
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