ORCHARD PARK — It was before Mike White was put in an ambulance and taken to an area hospital.
Left tackle Duane Brown made a point of looking for his quarterback in the locker room minutes after the Jets were beaten by the Bills 20-12 Sunday at Highmark Stadium, where White was punished by the Buffalo defense the way Mike Tyson used to punish opposing fighters with a barrage of body shots.
“I just told him I appreciate him,” Brown said.
Brown first told White that in huddle when he returned in the fourth quarter after being taken to the locker room for x-rays following a stab to his ribs by Bills linebacker Matt Milano who appeared that he was going to break it in half at the midsection.
Brown then repeated this to White in the quiet of the losing locker room after the game.
The Connor McGovern center too.
“I told him I loved him and appreciated him,” McGovern told the Post.
“You are a warrior,” Braxton Berrios, one of White’s closest friends on the team, told him in his locker with the ambulance waiting outside.
“That’s the first thing I did when I got there – I found him and told him what I wanted to tell him, because he fought, man,” Berrios told the Post.
White, who completed 27 of 44 passes for 268 yards and failed to return the ball despite 20 pressures and knocked out seven times, was unavailable to speak to reporters as he was taken to hospital as a precaution for having his ribs checked before the team returned to New Jersey.
White, who started the season as the Jets’ third-string quarterback live a life of darkness leading the scouting team before he was named a starter two weeks ago with Zach Wilson at rock bottom, was already the most popular person in the Jets locker room.
Even before what happened in the snowy, rainy cold of western New York on Sunday, White would have won a popularity contest among his teammates in a landslide.
But that…that will only serve to galvanize the legend of mike white to his teammates.
“He’s a hell of a soldier,” running back Michael Carter said. “With no disrespect to Zach [Wilson] or Jo [Flacco], but it’s really cool to play with him. I love it.”
White should have been eliminated from this game twice.
With 6:36 remaining in the first half, Buffalo defensive tackle Ed Oliver tattooed his No. 91 on White’s chest with a smashing jab that left White on the frozen turf writhing in pain. That injury came as White stood in the pocket long enough to complete a 24-yard pass to Elijah Moore.
Veteran substitute Joe Flacco replaced him for two games and White returned.
Then, with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter, it was Milano who came to White – in the air like a missile. White grimaced again and lay on the floor for several minutes as Jets medical staff tended to him before finally getting up and being carefully led to the locker room for X-rays on his ribs. painful.
With 12:23 left in the game and the Jets leading 20-7, White came back into the group again, blowing his teammates away.
“He shocked me in the fourth quarter when we started a practice and I looked up in huddle and thought, ‘Oh wow, Mike is back,'” Berrios said.
“I thought it was going to be done after the second hit,” Brown said.
“I didn’t even know he was back,” tight end CJ Uzomah said. “I saw him throw a completion (12 yards to Garrett Wilson) and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, wait, what?’ I was like, ‘This is sick.’ ”
Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Sunday that White “showed everybody what we already knew about his strength,” adding, “I think he showed determination, toughness, everything we’ve seen. He’s a good player. He’s tough.”
McGovern called White “the epitome of what hopefully everyone in this locker room is willing to do to win.”
“If he’s able to walk, run or throw the ball, he’ll be there and that’s just a testament to his courage and his mindset, that’s just who he is,” he said. said linebacker CJ Mosley.
“He’s an absolute warrior. We all know that and he obviously showed that to the world today,” Berrios said.
“He showed resilience and strength, but the best thing is: it’s him every day of the week,” said safety Will Parks. “He’s my quarterback.”