FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- When the kids are put to bed and it's quiet time at the Mangold household, New York Jets center Nick Mangold will park himself on the sofa and slip into a comfortable pair of electronic boots.
Let the healing begin.
Mangold's 32-year-old legs have accumulated a lot of mileage over 10 seasons in the NFL trenches -- we're talking about 10,000 plays -- and he's always looking for ways to help the recovery process. His new toy: NormaTec compression boots, a waist-to-toe contraption that increases blood circulation in the legs.
"My wife is pretty sick of them by now because I'll be sitting on the couch and it's like --," said Mangold, impersonating a motorized humming sound.
"It adds extra recovery, and it's something I can get done at home without having to do a cold tub," he added. "That's hard to pull off at home with a bunch of ice and everything. This is something you just plug in."
They're actually quite popular at One Jets Drive, where players are quick to seek out the NormaTec boots in the trainer's room. Tight end Zach Sudfeld uses them for 20 to 30 minutes before practice, saying, "You lay down, relax and take your mind off things -- and let the boots do their work."
Mangold is coming off the most physically demanding season of his career. He missed nearly two full games with a neck injury and he left another game early because of a significant gash on his right hand. He acknowledged it took longer than usual for his body to heal after the season.
His workload was reduced in the offseason and last week he received the equivalent of a training-camp vacation -- no practice and a night off last Friday against the Washington Redskins. Coach Todd Bowles recognizes he has an older roster, and he's mindful of giving rest to his key veterans.
"I don't know if I have to do it, but I appreciate the opportunity [to rest]," Mangold said. "The season is long and the wear-and-tear is real."
The upside is that it affords younger players an opportunity to gain experience, albeit preseason experience. In Mangold's case, it created playing time for Wesley Johnson and Dakota Dozier. There could be long-term benefits. If Mangold gets hurt during the season, the Jets won't have to make a desperation move to replace him.
The occasional R & R appears to be helping. Mangold said he reported to training camp feeling "the best I've ever felt. And I feel great right now, too. Typically, after a few weeks, you can't say that."
Maybe it's the compression boots. As Forrest Gump might say, "Magic legs."