Willie Colon is already home.
The 30-year-old offensive lineman, a Bronx native who attended Hofstra University, could not be happier to be with the New York Jets this season after spending his first seven NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s awesome, it really is,” Colon said about the opportunity to sign with his hometown team this offseason. “I’m really humbled that they were able to bring me in and everything worked out well.”
An offensive tackle most of his career, Colon settled in nicely at left guard for the Steelers last season, the same position Alan Faneca used to play. Faneca, a former teammate of Colon’s, also played for the Steelers and Jets.
With his familiar #74 already taken by All-Pro center Nick Mangold, Colon will get a chance to emulate Faneca in a lot of ways. Not only is the ex-Steeler coming to the Jets to play left guard, he’ll do it wearing Faneca’s #66.
“I felt … where I wanted to finish my career is on the same level that Alan finished his career,” he said. “I thought it would only be right to honor him and his number, show respect, and play my tail off like he did.”
Colon isn’t guaranteed a starting job, but he’ll enter training camp as a frontrunner to earn a starting spot at one of the guard positions. He played left guard in the spring, but he’s capable of playing on the right side as well.
“That’s why I’m here,” Colon said. “Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing is promised. I’m just extremely blessed to come home and have a chance to compete for a starting job, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
New York Jets Offensive Line Ranked Third-Best OL of 2012 by Pro Football Focus
2013 NFL Draft: New York Jets Stick to Their Draft Board, Fortify Offensive Line Depth
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: D’Brickashaw Ferguson
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: Vladimir Ducasse
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: Geno Smith
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: Stephen Hill
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: Chris Ivory
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: Kellen Winslow
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Profile: Tommy Bohanon