Outside linebacker Bryan Thomas’s season is done for the New York Jets. He left midway through the first quarter of the Sunday Night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Early news was an unknown ankle injury.
But news has since surfaced that the 10-year veteran out University of Alabama – Birmingham will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn left Achilles’ tendon. Thomas amassed 14 tackles in four games this season while failing to record a sack. He is regarded as one of the premier run stoppers from the outside edge.
Head coach Rex Ryan was ambiguous when asked who will fill Thomas’ starting role at outside linebacker, citing a multitude of possibilities. But his uncertainty to hand the duties over to Jamaal Westerman was apparent.
“If Westerman steps up and plays that way, then maybe it is, but I’m not ready to anoint anybody the starter there,” Ryan said. “I think we’ll have a combination of guys fighting for that job. There is Josh Mauga, who has been cross-trained for that. You can use four down linemen if you need to. You always have different plans going in there.”
They also could use Aaron Maybin, who had a great game as a designated pass rusher. He led the team in sacks, with three, during preseason before being cut after training camp and he recorded a timely strip/sack of the Ravens’ Joe Flacco last night.
The new of Thomas adds to an already deflated Jets team that’s lost handily in their last two road games before traveling behind enemy lines to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots this Sunday.
“It’s tough when you lose a guy that is a true Jet, a guy that’s played a lot of snaps for us,” safety Jim Leonhard said. “We’ve got some guys that need to step up. There’s no question about it. We feel like we have the guys in the room that can do it. They really need to step up.”
The loss adds to the ever-growing injury report for the Jets who already lost tight end Jeff Cumberland to a similar Achilles’ injury and Nick Mangold, who missed the last two games due to a high ankle sprain.
Thomas, 32, is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
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