Special Teams Saturday on newyorkjets.com welcomes the return of one of the Green & White’s "teams" stalwarts to action. There on last Sunday’s opening kickoff, third man from the left end of the line, No. 58 was back in one of his elements.
"I wasn’t real sentimental about it. I was just getting back to work," Matt Chatham said. But, he said, warming to the topic, "As a player, you kind of like to start the game on kickoff. You’ve got a lot of extra energy from pregame. And for me, I had nine months more of extra energy."
Chatham, after all, was playing in his first play in his first game back after missing the first seven games of the season on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform. And he spent the month and a half before the opener on preseason PUP.
He hadn’t hit anybody with serious intent since the playoff game at New England in January.
Add to this the fact that Chatham is a core teams contributor when he’s healthy — he was voted one of the specialists’ captains last season, his first as a Jet.
To celebrate all this excess energy and return to action, Chatham ran down under Mike Nugent’s kickoff and was in on the game’s first tackle of returner Terrence McGee along with Brad Smith.
"Yeah, it felt good to get out there and be involved early on," he said.
Chatham even appeared on defense for a couple of first-quarter plays back at his old outside linebacker home. Then back on teams, he and Wallace Wright teamed up on a tackle of Roscoe Parrish in punt coverage at the top of the fourth quarter, and he appeared in the middle of the wedge on Leon Washington’s kickoff returns.
"I joked with Gus [Granneman, equipment director] that he’d need extra-strong detergent to get the rust out of my uniform," Chatham said. "Hopefully, my game experience will kick in and expedite the process."
Chatham’s seven previous seasons of LB experience will come in handy when he’s called on defensively the rest of this season. And his special teams expertise will be a valuable addition in trying to rein in the Redskins’ top returners, Rock Cartwright (29.2 yards per kickoff return) and Antwaan Randle El (a tame 6.8 yards per punt return but still very dangerous).
Tags: Brad Smith, Matt Chatham, special teams, Wallace Wright
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