He was one of Teddy Bridgewater’s Vikings receivers in 2014 and 2015, before Bridgewater’s career was kneecapped and nearly ended. And now, as he fights for a job with the Jets, Charles Johnson knows better than anyone how far his old young quarterback has come.
“Seeing the Same Old Teddy, man,” Johnson told The Post after practice Saturday. “I was talking to guys the other day, it’s good to see him back out here doing some of the things he’s doing, just with the positive attitude he has, the approach he has when the odds are really stacked against him. He comes out and just stays the Same Old Teddy, cool, calm and collected, poised and just goes out there and goes to work.
“He said it on the bus on the way back from the game the other day. It really hit me. He said, ‘Man, I’ve been off for two years. In my eyes, I really can’t do no wrong. I’m out here playing football, and it’s a blessing.’ ”
Sam Darnold has made his case to be the Jets starting quarterback, and Bridgewater and Josh McCown can make their cases as well.
“As receivers you don’t know when you’re going to play, you can go fourth quarter, and we mentioned to each other, ‘The good thing is, if you come in late, you’re still going to have a good quarterback. All three of these guys are like starting quarterbacks, so it doesn’t matter’” Johnson said.
On a day when Darnold lit it up, Bridgewater allowed himself to bop to the sound of the late Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” blaring from the speakers at the start of practice on Saturday.
“For me, last week [against the Redskins], was like the final barrier I had to knock down,” Bridgewater said.
He may be knocking them down, of course, for another team.
“For me right now, I’m just focused on this opportunity that I have right now,” Bridgewater said. “I’m blessed with the opportunity to continue to do what I love to do.”
He was asked if he feels like he is capable of being a starter in this league.
“Definitely,” Bridgewater said. “But right now, my primary focus is just being the best teammate that I can be, coming to work every day, challenging my teammates to be the best they can be.”
I asked him how close he feels to being all the way back, or close to it.
He chuckled. “I don’t really know how to answer that question,” he began. “I think for me, each week I go out there is small tests that I take myself through to continue to just see, hey, how will it [the knee] hold up?’ ”
It held up under fire Thursday night. “For me, I can say ‘I’m good,’ ” Bridgewater said.
His arm looks strong. “I’ve been working out very hard in the gym,” Bridgewater said, and flexed his right biceps and smiled.
The Jets are lucky to have him. For however long they have him.
“His pocket presence is still poised, he’ll stand in there, he’ll take it and deliver,” Johnson said. “He got rolled up on his knee the other night, too, and he just bounced back up like it was nothing.
“It was Same Old Teddy.”
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