Matt Forte practices for first time in 3 weeks, ready for Saturday's preseason game

ByRich Cimini ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- After sitting out three weeks with a strained hamstring, New York Jets running back Matt Forte returned to practice Tuesday and claimed he will be ready for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

"No doubt," he said.

Forte, 31, said he hopes to play Saturday night against the New York Giants, but that hasn't been confirmed yet. The Jets want to see how he progresses throughout the week before making that determination.

"That's my goal," Forte said. "I don't know what the coaches' plan is, but that's my plan."

Forte, injured July 31 in the third practice of training camp, went through a similar ordeal last summer. He injured the same hamstring in a pre-camp workout and missed the first two preseason games. It was actually a torn hamstring, he revealed Tuesday, one that required an injection of platelet-rich plasma.

"This one, there was no tear in it, it was just a [grade I] strain," he said. "It took about the same amount of time to actually heal up. ... To get back to full speed, it took a couple weeks, which I wasn't expecting. You can't predict that type of stuff."

Forte and fellow running backBilal Powell are the most accomplished players on an inexperienced offense, and the Jets have big plans for both.

Forte, one of the few veterans who survived the offseason roster purge, rushed for a team-high 813 yards last season, missing the final two games due to a knee scope.

He and Powell are surrounded by uncertainty at the skill positions, starting at quarterback. Veteran Josh McCown is the presumptive starter, but he took only three practice reps on Tuesday -- highly unusual for the week of the third preseason game. Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty split the majority of the reps; McCown ran sprints off to the side to keep busy.

Coach Todd Bowles, who said he'll reveal his regular-season quarterback choice on Monday, has grown weary of quarterback questions.

"He got reps the whole first half of camp and y'all complained he got too many," said Bowles, who wouldn't say who will start against the Giants. "Now he's getting too little. What do you want me to do?"

Asked if there's a happy medium, Bowles bristled, "Yeah, there is, and I'm taking care of that."

Related Video