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Jets hoping Mangold not injured badly

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — For a few frightening minutes Sunday afternoon, it appeared as if the Jets might lose one of their longest-tenured and most indispensable players.

Center Nick Mangold fell head-first after getting tangled up with a gaggle of players and absorbing a hit to the head when Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins was blocked into him by tackle Breno Giacomini with 54 seconds left in a 30-23 loss to the Patriots.

Mangold initially was not moving as he was tended to by the Jets training staff. Players from both teams went to one knee and appeared to be praying for Mangold, who has missed just three games since the Jets selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft.

Mangold was eventually turned over and managed to walk off the field under his own power, though he did so slowly and in obvious pain. He underwent a neck X-ray after the game and was seen walking out of the locker room wearing a neck brace.

X-rays and a CAT scan were negative and Mangold appears to be day-to-day.

“Not as bad as we thought it was,” head coach Todd Bowles said Monday.

The Jets also lost safety Calvin Pryor, who suffered a sprained ankle early in the third quarter. Running back Chris Ivory played through a hamstring injury Sunday, but Bowles said Monday he also had a quad injury.

-Wide receiver Brandon Marshall made his usual spate of head-scratching plays Sunday, except this time without the accompanying production.

Marshall was limited to four catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns in the Jets’ 30-23 loss. The receptions were a season low while the yardage was the second-lowest figure for Marshall, who was held out of the end zone for only the second time.

Marshall should have had five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, but he dropped a wide-open pass in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. The catch would have given the Jets a seven- or eight-point lead. Instead, they settled for a field goal that extended the lead to 20-16 and the Patriots scored the go-ahead touchdown on their next drive.

“That’s all on me,” Marshall said afterward. “If I make that play, it puts us in a better position. I didn’t make the play and it put our team in a bad situation.”

He did more harm than good during the Jets’ furious last-minute rally. Marshall dropped a pass on a drive that ended with a field goal but recovered the subsequent onside kick. Alas, he was flagged for a false start with one second left and the Jets trying to line up for a Hail Mary. The penalty resulted in a runoff of the final second.

“I should have done a better job of trying to figure that out faster,” Marshall said. “That’s on me.”

After meeting with reporters, Marshall took to Twitter to declare that “My A** should be walking back to New York. How you bounce back after moments like this produce CHAMPIONS or CHUMPS.”

In the Jets’ first loss of the season, a 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 27, Marshall fumbled the ball backward in the first quarter and lost a fumble in the second quarter when he tried lateraling the ball to tight end Jef Cumberland.

-In a matter of minutes Saturday morning, punter Steve Weatherford went from talking about Jets-Patriots to being a part of it.

Weatherford, who was cut by the New York Giants on Sept. 4, was co-hosting a show on ESPN Radio in New York City when Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan called him about replacing injured Jets punter Ryan Quigley, who woke up with a swollen right shin on Saturday morning.

Weatherford talked to Maccagnan during a commercial break before leaving the studio and heading to the Jets’ complex in New Jersey, where he met the team and took the charter flight.

“To be honest with you I think I was really their only option, because where else are you going to get somebody?” Weatherford said after Sunday’s game. “It’s not like (the injury) happened on a Tuesday and you can bring four or five guys in (for tryouts).”

Weatherford said he began transitioning to a post-football life after he was cut by the Giants, and it showed Sunday, when he averaged just 40.3 yards on four punts, two of which traveled fewer than 35 yards in the air. Weatherford said he hadn’t kicked a football since the previous Sunday, when he made a handful of punts with his 7-year-old son handing him the football.

He acknowledged late Sunday that he might have just played his final NFL game.

“I’ve been focused on life after football,” Weatherford said. “And if somebody called, great. It was exciting to come here and play. But that was a rough, rough day.”


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