Ryan Kalil was convinced he was done with football, and getting down to 260 pounds made it likely he was.
But it only took until March to start having second thoughts about his retirement.
The Jets are glad he had those, as he fills in a huge hole by coming back to play center for them, after signing a one-year, $8.4 million contract to play again after 12 years with the Panthers.
“I want to apologize to anybody publicly or behind closed doors that I criticized for retiring and then coming back,” Kalil said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “I totally understand it now. I totally get it. . . .
“I had a hard time moving on, I had a hard time turning the page. I think most players go through this, but especially coming off 2018. [I was] healthy, feeling great, feeling spry. I just felt like I had more football in me.”
Kalil started lifting weights and working out in earnest in March, and said he was back to 297 pounds.
“I feel like I’m in great shape,” Kalil said. “Football shape, I’m going to need a little time for that.”
The Jets are willing to give him time to work back into training camp shape, because they know he can be such an important resource for the line in general and quarterback Sam Darnold in particular.