FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan looked shaken up during his morning press conference, which he began with the news that Jets safety Jim Leonhard had suffered a “severe” shin injury that will keep him out of Monday’s game against the Patriots.
“That was a huge blow to us,” Ryan said. “We’re about the team. It’s not always just about an individual. He’s a huge part of what we do, but a guy will step up.
“We feel sorry for Jim. We feel terrible for Jim. But we don’t feel sorry for ourselves. We know it’s a big loss, but we’ll be ready to move on on Monday without him.”
Leonhard was carted off the field at the end of today’s practice after colliding with wide receiver Patrick Turner. It was unclear whether the injury happened during the collision or when Leonhard hit the ground.
Ryan said that he was “assuming” that there is a fracture in the shin, though he also said that he did not yet know the severity of the injury.
Leonhard is particularly important to the Jets defense because he is responsible for calling the defensive signals. In his place, Eric Smith and Brodney Pool will see time at safety against the Patriots.
“We’ve said it how many times about this sport: It’s 100 percent injury rate,” Ryan said. “At some time, you’re going to get hurt. This is, unfortunately, a big injury to us. He’s an excellent football player, great communicator, everything else. But that’s why we teach our system.”
And he’s still confident that the Jets can come out of Foxborough with a win, even though he called it an emotional letdown at the end of the team’s best practice of the year.
“We have got to find a way,” Ryan said. “Trust me, they are not feeling sorry for us. And that’s fine. We have enough players, we’re going to get it done, one way or the other. We’re going to find a way to get it done. And that’s what I’m banking on.
“Do I think we’ll win the game? Absolutely.”