D.J. Reed won’t make the same mistake again.
Early in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ Oct. 1 loss to the Chiefs, the team’s cornerback suffered a concussion, the first of his football career.
He didn’t tell anyone about it and finished the game.
He regrets that decision now.
“I knew something wasn’t right. I was really dizzy, it just didn’t feel right. But the selfish part of me wanted to play, it’s ‘Sunday Night Football,’” Reed said on Friday, in his first public comments since the injury’s diagnosis. “Going back and looking at it, any time you get a concussion you have to pull yourself out.
“Talking to the doctors, that could’ve been bad. If I would’ve got hit in the head again, something terrible could’ve possibly happened. So definitely a lesson learned.”
Reed missed the next two games, suffering from concussion symptoms after the initial injury.
He was nauseous, dizzy, was sensitive to light and felt foggy.
Reed got hurt with 12:56 left in the final quarter on a reverse to Chiefs receiver Skyy Moore.
Reed was attempting to make the tackle and the two players went helmet-to-helmet. But he finished the game.
“Definitely scary as far as just the symptoms and stuff lingering for a little bit,” Reed said. “I feel better now, I feel 100 percent. … That bye week was perfect. I started feeling better in that week and I haven’t had any setbacks.”
Nearly a month after the play, he will return in Sunday’s showdown with the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Sauce Gardner, the other Jets’ starting cornerback who missed their last game, also will be back after sitting out with a concussion.
That the Jets were able to beat the Eagles without the duo speaks volumes about their depth on defense. Bryce Hall started the two games that Reed was out, and produced a turnover in each victory.
“He held it down. He did his thing,” Reed said of Hall. “First game, scoop and score, second game interception. … The Eagles game showed a lot. It showed how good our coaches are with [defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich], with the play-calls he called. Same with [cornerbacks coach Tony Oden]. He did a great job getting them ready for the game.”
Obviously, the Jets are thrilled to have Gardner and Reed back. The duo are linchpins to one of the best defenses in the NFL.
“It’s good to have your starters out there. We got a lot of experience playing with those guys, we’re comfortable playing with them,” safety Jordan Whitehead said. “You definitely feel their presence. As a defense, we can definitely generate more turnovers and limit the explosive plays.”
In the long run, this may help the Jets. They won without two of their best defensive players, and other lesser-known players gained belief in themselves.
“It definitely gives us confidence to know when I’m out there I can go 100 [percent] and God forbid, if I do get banged up again, I know whoever is backing me up is going to handle their business and there is not going to be a drop-off,” Reed said. “So that’s a lot of confidence for me to go out there and give 100 percent and not worry about anything.”