Teddy Bridgewater wouldn't provide an update on the horrific knee injury that cost him nearly two full seasons, but he claimed he's still "capable of performing at a high level" and will embrace a crowded and potentially awkward New York Jets quarterback situation.
"Being an athlete and ultimate competitor, as a player, I welcome competition," Bridgewater said Wednesday, speaking to the media for the first time since signing a one-year, $6 million contract with the Jets.
Ostensibly, the former Minnesota Vikings starter will be the backup to incumbent Josh McCown, but the Jets are expected to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft, acquired last Saturday in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts.
On Wednesday, coach Todd Bowles and the Jets' top decision-makers attended Sam Darnold's pro day at Southern California, and they will be in Wyoming on Friday for Josh Allen's pro day. On the way home, they will stop in Oklahoma for a private workout with Baker Mayfield, the NFL Network reported. UCLA's Josh Rosen also will have a private workout with the team.
Bridgewater's contract includes only $500,000 in guaranteed money, so his roster spot can't be considered secure. He's a wild card, not having played a full game since the 2015 playoffs. The following training camp, he wrecked his knee in practice -- a torn ACL, a dislocation and other structural damage. Some feared that his career was over.
Speaking on a conference call, Bridgewater, 25, wouldn't say if he will participate in offseason practices, which begin in May.
"That's not something I'm comfortable talking about right now," he said, declining to say if his surgically repaired knee is 100 percent or close to it. "I'm pretty sure that will be a discussion I have with the training staff and we'll come up with a plan moving forward."
Bridgewater was healthy enough to get into a late-season game for the Vikings, but it was only nine snaps in mop-up duty. He threw only two passes, one of which was intercepted. Before the injury, he was considered an ascending quarterback.
"I'm very confident in myself," he said. "I'm confident in the athletic training staff and the coaching staff that they can get me back to the player that I once was. But at the same time, we're only in March and the only way to get better is to put the work in now. I'm excited about this opportunity I have. ... I can't wait. I'm excited."
Bridgewater said there was "no doubt in my mind" that he'd get back on the field after his freakish injury. He said his cameo last season was "very rewarding." Sharing his motivation, he said, "It isn't about proving to the people who counted you out or doubted you. It's about proving to the people that believed in you, showing them your progress, your belief ... it all paid off."
Bridgewater can earn up to $15 million with incentives, and he will be a free agent again next season. This is very much a prove-it contract.
"I think I'm a very confident guy," he said. "I believe in myself and I believe in the skill set I was blessed with. I'll just leave it at that. I'm very confident in myself."