Joe McKnight is in Great Shape and Ready to Make a Big Impact for the New York Jets in 2013

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Joe McKnight New York Jets
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets running back Joe McKnight has come a long way in his NFL career.

As a rookie in 2010, he struggled so mightily that he failed a conditioning test and very nearly did not make the 53-man roster, even after being drafted in the fourth round.

The Jets had faith in him, and he rewarded that faith over the last few years, emerging as one of the premier kick returners in the game in 2011 and 2012.

There was a bit of a scare when McKnight failed his initial conditioning test Friday morning when training camp got underway, but not for a reason you’d think.

McKnight revealed that his body fat percentage is a minuscule 3.3 percent, and that the team actually wants him to increase his body fat up to around 5 or 6 percent.

He explained that because he’s kept himself in such good shape with such little body fat, he’s become more prone to dehydration and debilitating muscle cramps.

Those cramping and dehydration issues caused him to fail his initial conditioning test, but he passed it the very next day and began practicing with his teammates.

Now entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract, McKnight is focused on earning an extended stay with the Jets. To do that, he needs to do more.

The Jets brought in running backs Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson this offseason, but McKnight is ready to prove he can be a force on offense as well as special teams.

The opportunity is there for the taking for the 25-year-old fourth-year pro. McKnight expects to make his mark in a big way this season. Now, it’s up to him to prove it.

Jon Presser is’s New York Jets Lead Columnist
Follow him on Twitter @metsjetsnets88 and on Google+

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