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Jets coach Robert Saleh says Jarrad Davis’ struggles in NY due to injury, ‘excited’ for his return to Detroit

Davis’ former coach shed some light on why he thinks the linebacker struggled last season—and why he’s in the right spot in Detroit.

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jarrad Davis’ return to the Detroit Lions has generated an awful lot of conversation since his signing was announced last Friday. On Monday, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News shared some of the dialogue happening at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting, and during a breakfast between AFC coaches and the media, Davis’ former coach—Robert Saleh—shared his thoughts about the linebacker and his brief stint in New York.

“I love J.D.,” Saleh told reporters on Monday. “I thought he was going to have a really good year. He had a really good OTAs, was having a really good training camp. Obviously, he hurt his ankle and really rushed himself back to be a part of the team. Any issues that he may have had during the season were really him playing on a bum ankle.”

Davis (re)introductory press conference to the Detroit media on Friday had the linebacker commenting on how he’s feeling physically after suffering the ankle injury that cost him nearly half of his 2021 season.

“I feel really good, man. I feel really good,” said Davis. “Done a lot of work this offseason. Done a lot of work last year to get back on the field.”

Over the course of his career, however, Davis has learned that playing through injuries isn’t always the right decision.

“Wasn’t my same self still,” admitted Davis. “Just playing with injuries has been something that I’ve had to really understand that that’s not always the route to go. As a competitor, as a football player, I want to be out there no matter what, but through my years of trying to do that, I’ve really understood that that’s not the route to go. That’s something that I have to own as a player. I have to be real.”

Being in the right headspace is something Davis is learning for himself as he goes through his football-playing career, but his former coach thinks he’s in the right spot mentally—and he’s excited for the opportunity Davis is getting with the team that once drafted him.

“Really excited for him [Davis] to go back to Detroit and get another opportunity,” said Saleh. “Really thought he was going to have a good year last year before that injury. Tremendous individual, has his head in a really good spot, so really excited for him and his (opportunity).”