Collin Johnson, a wide receiver for the New York Giants, was lost for the season on the same day that veteran Sterling Shepard returned to practice. According to the organization, Johnson tore his Achilles tendon during Wednesday’s practice.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound University of Texas product had been getting first-team reps with the Eagles in recent weeks while Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard sat on the bench.
The coaching staff had been impressed with Johnson and fellow wide receiver David Sills all week, as mentioned by coach Brian Daboll. In the Sunday preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Johnson started and finished with three receptions for 41 yards, while Sills had five grabs for 56 yards, the majority of which came from the starting offense.
“They’ve picked up their game,” Daboll remarked, referring to Collin Johnson and David Sills. And they’re in the thick of things, both in terms of making a team and getting on it.
Giants confirm that Collin Johnson tore his Achilles.
His season is over after having 10 catches for 123 yards in 2 preseason games. pic.twitter.com/cGjx12mKGs
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) August 24, 2022
The Giants’ season opener is 18 days away, in Tennessee. Three other players, Toney (right leg), C.J. Board (ribs), and Darius Slayton (shoulder), are all nursing minor wounds.
Meanwhile, Shepard was working his way back from an Achilles tear he suffered in December. Wednesday marked his first session back since the injury.
Shepard added, “It felt awesome, man,” after sneaking in some live drill work and catching a 20-yard throw from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. “Getting back out there is a huge relief. It’s especially tough to see the other players go at it while you’re sidelined with an injury. Each day is a gift, and you never know if or when you’ll be forced to sit out for an extended period of time.”
Shepard’s Achilles tendon had been torn for eight months and five days at this point. The longest-tenured member of the Giants, he has scored 21 times in 349 career receptions for 3,884 yards.
The Giants’ apparent improvement at wide receiver was aided by Shepard’s comeback. During the first half of Wednesday’s practice, Toney, Board, and Slayton all took part.
The practice ended badly for Johnson and Marcus Kemp (hamstring), as Toney was observed pulling at the back of his thigh. Soon after, both Johnson and Kemp were placed on injured reserve.
In order to fill the vacancies, the Giants on Wednesday claimed wide receivers, Bailey Gaither and Jaylon Moore. Tight end Jordan Akins was released to make place for other players.
Johnson, at age 24, has had 29 receptions for 377 yards in 26 games played with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants. While playing for the Giants last season, he stood out for his blocking ability.
But it looked like he really stepped it up a notch this summer. Over the course of training camp, his play earned him the confidence of starting quarterback Daniel Jones and some time with the first team.
Johnson caught 10 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in the first two preseason games. Considering Toney’s injury status and Shepard’s comeback from a significant one, Johnson may have gotten the nod to start in Week 1 against the Titans. However, he had his season cut short.
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