FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Willie Colon is Rocky Balboa and the 2014 season is the first "Rocky" movie, a 15-round endurance test. Colon's goal is to go the distance, to be standing when it's over around 4 p.m. Sunday at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
If it sounds like a modest goal, you don't know Colon's background. He hasn't played a full season since 2009. The New York Jets right guard came agonizingly close last season, making it to the fourth quarter of the final game, which happened to be at Sun Life. But, with five minutes to play, he tore a biceps tendon.
"You want to finish on your feet," Colon said this week. "That's something I wear on my shoulders. No matter how the fight goes, just finishing on your feet, that's become a goal of mine.
"Last year was such a heartbreak because there were only a few minutes left and I blew out my biceps. I thought about it every time I trained. Everything I put into this year, that's one of my main goals -- finish. I haven't done that in a long time. It would mean a lot."
From a team perspective, the Jets (3-12) have been a major disappointment, but there are little success stories within the big story -- and Colon is one of those.
Colon, 31, is a tough dude who made it out of the South Bronx and played his college ball locally at Hofstra. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and won a Super Bowl, but the story turned hard-luck.
He ruptured an Achilles' tendon in June, 2010, and missed the entire season.
He tore a triceps in Week 1 of the 2011 season, and he was done for that year.
He missed five games in 2012 with a knee issue, leading to his release from the Steelers.
It looked good last season, but the Miami Dolphins called a safety blitz with five minutes left in the finale and Colon extended his left arm, hoping to slow him down.
"[The biceps tendon] was jumping around in my arm," he said. "I tried to play through it. I played three more plays after the injury, but when I looked down, my arm was just flapping around."
Colon underwent surgery after the season. Two months into his rehab, he hurt his knee while training and required arthroscopic surgery. Suddenly, he was rehabbing two body parts.
"It's been a turbulent year," he said. "I put so much into the offseason, put so much into the entire year, emotionally and personally. To go the distance, it would be a blessing."