The Jets received the best possible news on injured safety Elijah Riley.
Hours after he was taken off on a stretcher, Riley was able to travel home with the team and had full range of motion following what initially appeared to be a serious neck injury.
“He’s good, he checked out fine,” coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s got motion, he’s got all that stuff.”
The defensive back suffered the injury during the third quarter of the team’s 31-24 loss to the Dolphins. On a screen pass to Dolphins’ running back Duke Johnson, Riley collided with teammate Kyle Phillips and stayed down for several minutes. He laid motionless as doctors worked on him. Eventually, Riley moved his hands and feet, and gave a thumbs-up, before being carted off on the field.
“It was very scary,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said.
Four plays later the Dolphins scored a touchdown on Johnson’s 6-yard run to pull even at 17 and eventually went on to record their sixth straight victory.
“That was tough to see our brother go down like that,” cornerback Bryce Hall said. “It’s just tough any time you see somebody go down like that. We play a violent game. … Unfortunately, that’s the worst part about playing this game. We were a little bit down, but obviously that’s not an excuse.”
The 23-year-old Riley was signed by the Jets off the Eagles’ practice squad on Nov. 9. The well-liked Riley, who attended Army and hails from Port Jefferson, N.Y., was making his fifth start for the Jets.
“He’s a very passionate player,” Mosley said. “Very passionate … with everything that he does: practice, in the meeting room, on the field, off the field.
“When he first got here, you would’ve thought that he’d been with us the whole time. That’s how quick he jelled with the guys and the [defensive backs]. So we’re definitely praying for him.”