New York Jets coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday that quarterback Zach Wilson is medically cleared to play.
That opens the door for the second-year signal-caller to make his season debut Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers barring any setbacks — he will “absolutely” start if all goes well, Saleh said.
Wilson has been working his way back from a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his right knee that the quarterback suffered in the Jets’ preseason opener.
“It’s really just exciting for him to get back on the football field. It’s been six weeks,” Saleh told reporters.
In his absence, veteran Joe Flacco has started for the Jets and led the team to a 1-2 record, including a come-from-behind win over the Cleveland Browns.
Wilson was injured during New York’s preseason opener against Philadelphia on Aug. 12 went he was scrambling to try and get a first down.
He’s coming off a rookie campaign where he threw for 2,334 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Saleh emphasized that the return of Wilson is just part of the equation of getting the Jets’ offense to perform at its optimal level.
“There’s a lot of things that have to (get done) in terms of making sure we run an efficient offense, from us as coaches to O-line to receivers running routes — everybody’s involved,” Saleh said.
“So it is exciting to get him back out there but at the same time, it’s not all about Zach. It’s making sure that we’re executing on all cylinders as we should every week.”
Initially, there was optimism Wilson could return for the team’s season opener.
On Sept. 7, though, Saleh said the Jets wanted to ensure “both mind and body are 110%” for the former BYU quarterback before he returned, and he gave Week 4 against Pittsburgh as the timeline for Wilson’s earliest possible return.
In the weeks since, Wilson gone through his recovery process, which included returning to 11-on-11 action and working with the first-team offense this week.
“He’s very comfortable,” Saleh said, per ESPN. “He’s in a great mental state. Everyone is comfortable with where he’s at physically.”