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Horrific accident in past, Langi not wasting Jets chance

Horrific accident in past, Langi not wasting Jets chance

The Jets are trudging to the finish line of another lost season, but for Harvey Langi, there’s no such thing. 

For the Jets’ new starting inside linebacker, there are five more chances to do what wasn’t always a given after he and his wife were involved in a horrific car accident in 2017: play in the NFL. And in the three games since he broke into the starting lineup, Langi has led the Jets with 29 tackles while playing with the energy and motor of a man who is determined not to let a second chance go to waste. 

“Professionally, once I knew I was OK and I was alive and I could move my body and move my feet, I’m like, ‘You know what, whatever anybody says, I’m going to overcome this. I’m going to work hard to get back on that field,’ ” Langi said Wednesday after practice. 

“Now being back on the field, before the game or before practice or anything like that, I take a deep breath and I just go back to, ‘Man, I can’t believe I’m playing this game again.’ … It just helps me professionally, that I can’t just sit back and let this opportunity slip away.” 

Harvey Langi runs onto the field against the Denver Broncos
Harvey Langi runs onto the field against the Denver Broncos
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Langi was an undrafted rookie with the Patriots when he and his wife, Cassidy, sustained serious injuries when they were hit from behind by a car that was going over 50 mph. He said doctors and others told him it would be tough for him to get back on the football field and that maybe he should consider other opportunities. 

It briefly crept into Langi’s mind that his way back to the field might be as a coach, he said, but he fought off any doubt that he could play again. He signed with the Jets practice squad in 2018, made three spot starts in 2019 and now has the biggest defensive role of his NFL career. The spot opposite Neville Hewitt at inside linebacker opened up in Week 9 when the Jets traded Avery Williamson to the Steelers and lingering injuries to Blake Cashman and Patrick Onwuasor kept them sidelined, bumping Langi up from his special teams duties. 

“A majority of the time, I told myself, ‘No, I’m going to be padded up and ready to go. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to do it,’ ” Langi said. “Man, I’m living it, so it’s awesome.” 

That perspective has helped during a trying season for the 0-11 Jets. 

That mindset was on full display for Langi in Week 9 against the Patriots, in his first start of the season, when Cam Newton slipped out of his grasp for a potential sack. Instead, on the same play, he got back up and flew 15 yards down the field to make the tackle on wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. 

“It’s not going to be a perfect road in front of us all the time,” Langi said. “Right now, it’s pretty bumpy for us. There’s a lot of things you can do. [Outside linebackers coach] Joe Vitt always tells us, ‘You can either fall back or you can fight.’ … We’re gonna keep fighting.” 

Langi said he would have preferred the sack, but he won’t stop playing until the whistle is blown. 

“All we can do is come in every day to work, willing to work, willing to put down all your pride to do the things you need to do for your job,” he said. “I want to come in here and do my job as well as I can do it and as consistently as I can do it for as long as I can do it.”

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Erin Clark

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional football matches. She is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. She currently caters her skills for the sports and health section of Report Door.

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