On Tuesday, Jets defensive lineman Kony Ealy appeared on NFL Network and said he was looking forward to “getting a little revenge” on his former team this weekend when Gang Green hosts the Panthers at MetLife Stadium.
At the Jets facility on Wednesday, though, Ealy wasn’t as vocal about Sunday’s contest meaning more to him.
When asked if it would be a little strange facing his former teammates, Ealy gave a stern, “No.” He offered the same answer when asked if there would be any added emotions.
Why not? “Because at the end of the day,” Ealy said, “I’m worried about going out here, focusing on winning the game and trying to get into the playoffs. I’m not worried about one team, or anything other than that.”
The Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera drafted Ealy in the second round in 2014. As a second-year player, Ealy recorded three sacks in Carolina’s Super Bowl XL loss to the Broncos.
But this past March, the Panthers opted to trade Ealy to the Patriots, along with a third-round pick, in exchange for a second-round pick. New England then cut Ealy this summer before the Jets scooped him up on waivers.
Rivera mostly lauded Ealy Wednesday in a conference call.
“Kony’s one of those guys, he flashes his ability. And when he flashes it, the guy is tough to block,” Rivera said. “He does a lot of good things. And I think he’s a guy that continues to develop and grow, and when he gets there, he could be a really good player in this league.”
Panthers All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen, who hasn’t played since Week 2 because of a broken foot, is on track to return against the Jets, Rivera said.
“He had a good day of practice today. We’ll see how he is tomorrow morning, and then we’ll gauge things from there,” Rivera said. … Jets running back Matt Forte did not practice Wednesday as he continues to deal with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. … Left tackle Kelvin Beachum was excused from practice as he attended the birth of his second child and first son, Kelvin Beachum III.
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