Every professional athlete has goals. Some aspire for long-term greatness. Others simply strive to make a roster or earn consistent playing time.
While Jets defensive end Carl Lawson didn't reveal exactly what he's shooting for with his new team this season, he did walk through his goal-setting method and how it motivates him to be the best version of himself.
Lawson, who signed a lucrative three-year deal with the Jets this offseason, will write down his goals and place them prominently in his house, a way for the rising star to keep them engrained in his mind.
"I keep them on the fridge and I'll take notes," Lawson told reporters on Thursday. "It's a day-by-day thing. I put in my notes, what do I want to get better at each year? And then you have long-term goals, but I reach above and beyond to be honest."
Entering his first season in New York—after four years with the Bengals—Lawson explained that he's been working on stability and explosiveness in the offseason, preparing for the first 17-game season of his career.
The 25-year-old has showcased his dynamic skillset on the defensive line consistently since his rookie season in 2017. In that campaign, Lawson set a career-high with 8.5 sacks, a benchmark that could be shattered this season.
"A lot of times edge rushers miss because quarterbacks can step up into the pocket," new Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said earlier this month. "We have so many interior guys, I don't know how much of a pocket there will be to step up into. So from that standpoint, I think he could definitely have an increase in sack total."
Even if he's surrounded by talented interior pass rushers—like Quinnen Williams—Lawson is focused on himself, winning on the edge and producing on his own.
"I want the sacks to go up regardless of who I have [around me]," he said. "What if everybody got hurt? Am I going to use that as my excuse for sacks. Just think about winning, try to get improved and get better."
Lawson has accumulated 20 sacks over his four-year career, racking up 19 tackles for loss and 83 quarterback hits. Under Ulbrich and head coach Robert Saleh, surrounded by a quality defensive line, it's fair to assume those goals Lawson has written down eclipse his previous career-highs.
Then again, no matter what those aspirations are, the defensive lineman is aiming past them. While he's embraced the possibility of falling short, reaching for the stars is a mindset that extends to his life off the football field as well.
"I feel like the sky's the limit. But at the end of the day, this is life," Lawson explained. "Not every goal that you set is going to happen because there's external factors, but I will do everything in my power possible to reach my highest level of potential and what I think I could possibly be, which is something otherworldly."
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