Sam Darnold might be mono-free and ready to roll, but he’ll have to wait a while before one of his better pass-catching options returns after an ill-timed injury.
Tight end Chris Herndon will miss this weekend’s game against the Cowboys thanks to a hamstring injury he suffered just days before he officially returned from a four-game suspension. The versatile Herndon was injured running routes while working out on his own on Friday. He’s considered week-to-week with what Adam Gase described as a “legit hamstring” injury.
“It’s not ideal,” Gase said Wednesday.
You can say that again.
Herndon, who had 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, would have been a welcomed addition to the league’s worst offense through five weeks.
“I feel bad for him,” Gase said. “Just because he’s been waiting to get back. For that to happen… I know the guys were looking forward to him getting back too.”
Herndon, who was suspended for four games stemming from his DUI arrest last offseason, was at the team facility for the first month of the season. He was permitted to take part in team meetings — but not practice — per league rules.
“I was surprised just because it happened on Friday,” Gase said. “The last thing he’s doing… and for that to come up, I felt bad for him. I know how he’s been itching to get back out there. It’s tough when you go through what you have to go through — and you’re around — but you can’t do anything. To finally be able to get on the field and now you can’t.”
Herndon’s 66.7 catch percentage (39 catches on 56 targets) ranked second among tight ends last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Darnold and Josh McCown had a 152.7 passer rating when targeting Herndon, which was tops among all tight ends and receivers last season.
Herndon is more than simply a glorified receiver though. He’s a quality blocker that could have helped the Jets’ struggling ground game and provided additional protection for Darnold.
“He’s a unicorn-type player,” Gase said this offseason. “You don’t see a lot of these guys that can all three phases of the game.”
Gang Green will have to wait longer to get him back.