Damien Woody’s warning for Mekhi Becton with bust whispers starting

Damien Woody channeled Bill Parcells, and has a blunt message for Jets tackle Mekhi Becton: Come back next season in better shape.

Woody was a guest on The Post’s “Gang’s All Here” podcast with Brian Costello and Jake Brown, and was asked about Becton, who was selected 11th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Becton has missed all but one game this season with a dislocated kneecap.

Becton’s timetable for a return kept getting pushed back and now, according to coach Robert Saleh, he is out for the season “barring a miracle.”

“Nobody will dispute the immense talent he has,” Woody said. “We saw flashes of that his rookie year. A lot of his plays made highlights. But, like we’ve said constantly time and time again, your best ability is your availability.

“When Mekhi went down and there were these questions about when he’d come back, I was one of the first people to say to shut him down. Don’t even think about playing him. What good is it in a lost season to play three or four games at the end of the year? It makes no sense.”

Woody talked about how well George Fant and Morgan Moses are playing for the Jets, and how so much of offensive line play is chemistry, so that there was no purpose for Becton to return this year.

Next year, however, is a different story.

Mekhi Becton at Jets practice on Dec. 22, 2021.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

“Robert Saleh pointed this out in his press conference [earlier this week]: This is going to be a super, super important offseason for Mekhi Becton,” Woody said. “He needs to get in the best shape of his life. I don’t know where that number is as far as weight is concerned.

“He needs to hit this offseason, like right now, his focus should be, ‘I need to get in the best shape of my life.’ You hear the whispers already. He’s injury prone. He missed time during his rookie year. He’s basically missed all of his second year. He needs to make sure he comes back in the offseason in OTAs, minicamp, training camp — hitting the ground ready to roll and put forth his best season in this league.”

Damien Woody playing for the Jets in 2009.
Damien Woody playing for the Jets in 2009.
Getty Images

Asked if this means that Becton needs to lose some weight, Woody replied, “Absolutely,” and recalled blunt interactions with Parcells — who was never even his head coach — about needing to trim down.

“That was like the first thing he told me,” Woody said, “‘You need to lose weight. You’re a fantastic player, but imagine how much better you’d be if you dropped 10-15 points’. And he was right! I lost 15 pounds, and came back the next year and probably had my best season. I was light on my feet. I was in tremendous shape.”

Woody reiterated that being in the best shape means you can dominate the guy across from you, and that’s what he wants to see from Becton in 2022.