New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco, who agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract Friday, confirmed speculation he won't be ready for the Sept. 13 season opener against the Buffalo Bills because of his recently repaired neck.
"I can't speak to exactly when I'm going to be ready, but it will not be day one," Flacco said Tuesday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio. "Obviously, we'll get with the doctors and I have another checkup come August, so we'll see where that goes."
Flacco, 35, who underwent surgery in early April for a herniated disk, could be cleared for contact in early to mid-September, sources said last week. He said he feels "normal right now" -- he's throwing and working out -- but he probably will be limited to light work in training camp.
The Jets were aware of Flacco's timetable when they finalized the deal. They're confident he will be healthy enough to serve as Sam Darnold's backup for much of the season. The football calendar is up in the air because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"First and foremost, I want to help the team in any way possible and also be a guy Sam can lean on, that he can learn from," Flacco said in his first interview since being released by the Denver Broncos after only one season. "I would say those are the two most important things: Help out the guys on the team and help out Sam to do all they can.
"For me, personally, I want to play football. I've had some things happen, got injured and had to have surgery. I have to find my way back into the league. I want to play for years to come. I think these guys have given me a great opportunity and hope I can make the most of my situation and make the most of whatever my role ends up being."
The former longtime Baltimore Ravens starter and Super Bowl MVP admitted he wavered on whether to continue playing. He said he was "changing my mind every other day" earlier in the offseason.
"My mind was just all over the place, even a couple of months into the offseason," he said. "I was just kind of going crazy about the whole thing. The fact that I finally got [the surgery] done and put all that behind me, I can move forward now and look forward to football."
Flacco, acknowledging he knows "nothing at this point" about coach Adam Gase's offensive system, is participating in the virtual offseason program. He said he wouldn't hesitate to participate in a minicamp amid coronavirus concerns.
"It's tough to talk about this and not get political, but I want to get back to work," he said. "I think everybody wants to get back to work. It would be very easy for me and a bunch of the guys that play to sit here and say, 'Ah, we can quarantine until this and this and this.'
"... I could quarantine forever -- I've been lucky, I've been fortunate -- but I want to get back to work. I think we all do, man. We need this. We need to get back to work and get things going."