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Training Camp Stock Rising for Jets' Native Long Islander

Carrying momentum from OTAs, second-year tight end working toward bounce-back season

New York Jets' tight end Jeremy Ruckert is having fun again.

After seeing only 46 offensive snaps during an injury-plagued rookie campaign, the Long Island native appeared re-energized while speaking from the podium following Practice No. 12. 

"Being able to be healthy, be back to normal of how I normally feel. Just getting to play fast. This is the most fun I've had in a long time," said Ruckert, the No. 101 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Plantar fasciitis did its best to take any fun out of Ruckert's first season as a pro. The son of a die-hard Jets' fan was limited to nine games, two targets and one catch in 2022.

"I was raised playing through pain and stuff, but having something like that on the bottom of your foot where there's no real hiding it or masking it. You're using it every play, every step you take," said Ruckert while wearing a FDNY branded baseball cap that exudes Big Apple pride. "It was killing me just because of how bad I wanted to be out there with the guys. I hate just being on the sideline watching. That, last year, was a big learning experience for me."

With the foot injury healed, Ruckert's physical and mental health statuses have noticeably improved as training camp unfolds.

"I'm physically more comfortable, mentally more comfortable. I'm just having so much more fun this year than I was last year," said the tight end, who will turn 23 years old on August 11.

Ruckert appeared to have plenty of fun during Sunday's open training camp practice., which was a good day for multiple members of his position group. 

"The tight ends kind of feasted today," said veteran C.J. Uzomah. "Fun day for us."

Ruckert was amongst those who ate their fair share.

The tight end pulled in a well-placed dart from Aaron Rodgers for a 15-yard gain that moved the ball past midfield. Ruckert showed good execution on the timing route and did a nice job of getting his feet down in bounds along the right sideline. 

"You can tell the strides that he's made in the offseason, the strides that he's making on the field," said Uzomah. "His run blocking is really, really good. There was never a doubt about his hands, but his route running has improved immensely. You can tell the game's slowing down for him."

Later during Sunday's practice, Zach Wilson hit Ruckert on a quick five-yard out pattern and the tight end had room to run up the sideline after being over-pursued by the defender.

One day earlier, Ruckert made a sliding touchdown catch during red zone situations.

"He's grown leaps and bounds. That first to second season is where you grow the most," said Uzomah. 

In a sign of the progress he's made, Ruckert was amongst Gang Green's players who didn't dress for the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game in Canton.

"He’s come along really well. He is going to get some preseason time," said head coach Robert Saleh. "It’s the first game. We were trying our best. I think we sat like 32 guys, so we’re trying our best to make sure we pace this the right way and also use it as an opportunity to get a look at a lot of really young guys."

Ruckert projects to be the third tight end in the Jets' rotation behind Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.

"He had a great OTA, he’s having a really nice camp, so I am really looking forward to him getting on the field and seeing him in game action," said Saleh with the Jets set to face the Carolina Panthers in a preseason tilt on August 12.

In addition to dealing with the foot injury, Ruckert faced the natural rookie learning curve in 2022. 

"Dealing with the injury, dealing with the whole new experience of being in a pro style offense," said Ruckert. "Not really worrying about much [this year], just getting to play again."

Named one of Jets Country's four "breakout candidates" ahead of training camp, the 6-foot-5 Ruckert has also benefitted from the presence of four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

"Obviously, the new quarterback we have is great, helping me learn how to play," said Ruckert.


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