The Jets will be without their leader on defense this season.
Veteran Avery Williamson tore his ACL on Thursday in New York’s second exhibition game, according to a report from the NFL Network.
He will undergo an MRI to confirm the diagnosis, which would sideline Williamson for the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old linebacker suffered the injury at the end of the second quarter in the Jets eventual 22-10 win over the Falcons. Williamson was covering running back Brian Hill in the end zone when his teammate, cornerback Tevaughn Campbell, tried to deflect a Matt Ryan pass and hit Williamson in the right knee.
At the time of the play, Williamson was the only veteran starter still in the game.
Coach Adam Gase defended the decision to keep Williamson in for an extended period of time later that night.
“Everybody’s slotted for a different amount of snaps,” Gase explained. “Some guys we’re trying to get with certain packages, and you’re a 1 in this group, a 2 in this group. The last two weeks, he’s kind of stayed in there a little longer.”
Williamson is entering his second year of a three-year, $22 million deal with New York.
He was coming off a career-year where he finished last season with 120 combined tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception in 16 starts.