- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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G Willie Colon turns 30 next month and has missed 36 of the last 48 games due to injuries. NT Antonio Garay is 33 and has suffered five season-ending injuries in his career. If they were used cars on the lot, they wouldn't be listed in mint condition.
But say this for them: Starting fresh with the Jets, they're eager to prove people wrong.
"I’m like a young bull getting ready to go back into the ring," Garay said Tuesday on a media conference call.
Colon, released last week by the Steelers, said, "I have no ill feelings, (but) I do have a big-ass chip on my shoulder."
The two new Jets, both of whom signed one-year contracts, displayed a feisty attitude. Does sound mind mean sound body? We'll find out. They both have a chance to start, especially Colon. Last year's guards, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, are free agents. It could be a Colon-Vladimir Ducasse guard tandem in 2013.
Colon was switched to left guard last season after spending his entire career at right tackle. He got comfortable around midseason but hurt his knee and missed five games. He missed the 2010 season with a torn Achilles' tendon and he missed 15 games in '11 with a torn triceps.
"It’s been extremely challenging," he said. "It’s one of those things where every time I kind of felt like I got over the hump, there was always something else. I’m a fighter. Any time you fall off the horse, you get back on it and ride it. That’s my attitude with anything. It’s tough. It’s been a tough two years, I’m not going to lie, but I have a new home and I’m excited to be a Jet."
Garay had a cup of coffee on the Jets' practice squad in 2009, his return to football after missing two full two years with a broken ankle/leg. The Chargers signed him off the Jets' practice squad and he stayed four seasons in San Diego, enjoying his best year in 2010 (5.5 sacks).
"My career definitely hasn't been easy," Garay said. "I take on all the challenges. I’ve never hit the eight ball, I’ve just always been directly behind it."
The Jets have an affinity for former Chargers -- Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson and newly signed OLB Antwan Barnes. Garay said he bumped into Cromartie when trying to punch his security code into the Jets' entry system. He said Cromartie was happy to see him, asking affectionately, "What's up fat ass?"
Garay gave a glowing scouting report on Barnes.
"(He's) a great pass rusher, a guy that has been undervalued during his career," he said. "I think Barnes is going to have a major impact this year for the Jets. I don’t think a lot of Jets fans really know him that well, but he’s a guy that was in the Baltimore organization, knows this defense, knows how to play this defense and what is expected of him. He’s a beast off the edge, a guy that has a (heck) of a get-off, a guy who is going to create a lot of havoc and create a lot of plays on the defensive side of the ball this year."