Jets shrouding Mekhi Becton in mystery is bad look


Has anyone seen Mekhi Becton?

Six-foot-seven men weighing some 370 pounds don’t fit on milk cartons, so putting that kind of APB image out on the Jets’ second-year left tackle would do no good in the way of a search.

Yet Becton, the No. 11-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has been essentially invisible to the public for nearly five months.

He suffered a dislocated right kneecap in the first game of the season at Carolina in September, an injury that was originally diagnosed to have a recovery period of about two months, according the team. That led you to believe he perhaps had to chance to play again by November or December.

Those two months bled into three, then four and finally the rest of the season.

Sure, the Jets, who finished 4-13, have no more games to play this season, but let’s make this as clear as it can be: Becton is one of the two most important players on the Jets, along with quarterback Zach Wilson.

And his prolonged absence has been a cause for concern.

Once it became apparent that Becton’s second NFL season was finished at the 48 snaps he took in Carolina, requests to the team were made by reporters a week before the season finale to make him available to speak the day after the season.

Jets
Mekhi Becton
Bill Kostroun

That request somehow never was executed.

Monday’s postmortem to the season with the media, which included interviews with nine team-selected players, head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas, didn’t include Becton despite repeated requests.

This increased the shroud of mystery surrounding Becton, leading to speculation that, with his issues battling weight gain, the team wanted no part of reporters seeing how big Becton has gotten via a Zoom call.

Further inquiries by The Post on Tuesday and Wednesday were made with a team official, who declined to produce Becton.

It’s all been a bad look — for the team and for Becton.

Jets fans can only hope 2021 becomes a blip on the screen in what Becton turns into the kind of career that D’Brickashaw Ferguson carved out as the team’s dependable left tackle for 10 years and 160 consecutive starts.

Jets fans can only hope for Mekhi to eventually be like Brick.

Mekhi Becton
Mekhi Becton
Getty Images

“Brick never missed a practice,’’ former Jets offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody recalled over the phone Tuesday. “Brick never missed a game. If I’m Mekhi, moving forward in my career that’s what I’m aiming for. You want to be there with your brothers.’’

No one can blame Becton for getting hurt. And no one is in his body or mind to know why he was never able to get back onto the field. In the few times Becton has been available to reporters (the last time he was made available was Week 1 this season), he’s been engaging and enthusiastic. There’s been no evidence of him being a player who dogs it.

But something went wrong between the September injury and the end of the season as the team hasn’t made him available, and whatever it is the team hasn’t been transparent about it. That only hurts Becton.

Woody, who like Becton spent his entire career battling weight issues, revealed he plans to get with Becton during the offseason and speak to him, because Woody wants the Jets to succeed and he recognizes how critical Becton is to that success.

“When he’s on the field you can make the case that he’s the Jets’ best player,’’ Woody said. “This offseason is huge for him, because he needs to get in the best shape of his life — mentally, physically be in a good spot — so when he comes back for the offseason program and OTAs and minicamps he can hit the ground running and be ready to go. So much of the Jets’ plans are depending on him.

“I haven’t talked to him about it, but I’m going to do it this offseason. I want to just tell him from personal experience that I’ve been there. It (weight issues) might be a sensitive subject for him. Probably is. It was for me when I was playing. My advice to him is, ‘You’re strong as an ox, but get in the best physical shape that you can possibly can, because when you’re there that takes your game to another level.’

“I would tell Mekhi, ‘You have to come back right this year. No excuses.’ If Mekhi comes back right, I think the offense goes to another level.’’

The Jets, who haven’t been in a playoff game in 11 years and are 6-27 in the past two seasons, are in desperate need of “another level.’’



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