FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown will make his New York Jets debut Sunday after being activated from injured reserve Saturday — a potential boost to their injury-ravaged offensive line.
Brown, 37, is expected to start against the Miami Dolphins, becoming the third different player in as many weeks to start at left tackle. He returned to practice Wednesday and made it through the week without any setbacks after injuring a shoulder in a practice leading up to the season opener.
In a corresponding move, the Jets placed right tackle Max Mitchell (knee) on IR, meaning he will be out at least four games. Mitchell, injured last week, already had been ruled out for Sunday. He becomes the fourth offensive tackle to have a stint on IR.
The Jets haven’t revealed their lineup plan, but Brown’s return means Alijah Vera-Tucker will be on the move again. The regular right guard made an emergency start at left tackle last week, earning praise from teammates and coaches for his versatility and team-first approach. The 2021 first-round pick could make his first career start at right tackle, replacing Mitchell.
The Jets’ offensive-line plan got blown up in training camp when right tackle Mekhi Becton underwent season-ending knee surgery. That prompted them to sign Brown, who received a two-year, $20 million contract, including a $9 million guarantee. He lasted only seven practices and one preseason game before banging up his shoulder.
Brown declined to reveal the specific injury, except to say doctors gave him the option of surgery. He decided to play through it, hoping rest and rehab would help. While he recovered, George Fant, who has gone back and forth between both tackle spots, aggravated a surgically repaired knee in Week 3 and landed on IR.
“This game is everything to me,” Brown said. “I came here with high expectations for myself and what I can contribute to the team. Being sidelined the first four games was tough. The chance to do my thing and get out there with the guys means everything to me.”