Jets’ Joe Flacco remains on track for September return

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Jets backup quarterback Joe Flacco remains on track to be fully cleared in September.

Flacco saw Dr. Alexander Vaccaro, the surgeon who performed his neck surgery in April, on Friday in Philadelphia, according to a source. The doctor told Flacco he was progressing well, but Flacco is still not expected to be cleared for contact until mid-September at the earliest.

That means Flacco is expected to miss the first 1-2 games, as the team has known since it signed him in May.

Flacco currently is on the active/physically unable to perform list. That means when the Jets begin training camp practices this week, he will not participate. He will be able to still go to meetings to learn the offense and will likely work on strength and conditioning on the side.

Flacco has been cleared to throw a football for months, so he also can do that on his own. The last hurdle will be getting cleared to get hit. Flacco will have another check-up with the surgeon in September, and the hope is he will get clearance then.

The Jets signed Flacco to back up Sam Darnold, giving him a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with $3 million in incentives. The other quarterbacks on the roster are David Fales, rookie James Morgan and Mike White. It seems likely Fales will serve as Darnold’s backup early in the season with Flacco out.

Joe Flacco
Joe FlaccoGetty Images

Flacco, 35, joins the Jets after a year with the Broncos. He played 11 seasons for the Ravens before that, winning the Super Bowl with Baltimore in 2012. Jets general manager Joe Douglas was the area scout for the Ravens that pushed for the team to draft Flacco in 2008.

Last season, Flacco started eight games for the Broncos, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. The neck injury ended his season early, and the Broncos released him in March. Flacco has started 171 regular-season games and has a record of 98-73. He is a veteran of 15 playoff games, winning 10 of them.

Despite being a starter for his entire career, Flacco has accepted the backup role with the Jets.

“I’m fully embracing it,’’ Flacco said in May. “It’s where I am right now. I’m glad to be on a team playing football in some capacity. It’s going to be huge to get in there and know the guys and develop a relationship with the team and do anything I can to help the team get better.

“And in that process, help Sam with whatever he needs help with — take his mind off something, tell him how I see things or how I’ve dealt with [something] in the past — on the football field or off the football field.’’

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