Muhammad Wilkerson: 'I'll be ready' Week 1 for Jets


Armed with a mountain of new cash, Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson is vowing to be in uniform for New York's regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Yeah, I'll be ready for Week 1," Wilkerson told reporters Wednesday during a conference call to unpack the five-year, $86 million deal he signed on Friday.

"Rehab is going well. I'm running four times a week and just taking it day by day," said Wilkerson, who broke his right leg in last year's Week 17 loss to the Bills.

The January injury did nothing to grease negotiations with New York's front office, but Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan stunned fans by inking Wilkerson just prior to Friday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Wilkerson expressed thanks to team owner Woody Johnson, saying: "I definitely wanted to be here. I'm from New Jersey, I'm from here, my family is here, I wanted to raise my children here, so I'm very excited to be back."

Wilkerson's Week 1 timeline upends speculation that the monstrous Jets lineman might start the year on the PUP. Still, Wilkerson acknowledged that he would need part of training camp to get back to 100 percent, saying he planned "to keep rehabbing" over the coming weeks.

Fresh off a season that saw him notch 12 sacks, the 26-year-old Wilkerson is set up for another Pro Bowl campaign. As a top-three player at his position, he's part of a Jets defensive front that also boasts Sheldon Richardson and Making the Leap candidate Leonard Williams.

Bottom line: For Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, the thought of Wilkerson being unleashed at MetLife in Week 1 is an uninviting development to say the least.