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New York Jets safety Elijah Riley returns to practice after scary injury

Elijah Riley, Jets, Injury, Army
Elijah Riley, New York Jets, Getty Images

Elijah Riley is back at practice

New York Jets safety Elijah Riley, who was strapped to an emergency spine board and carted off the field with a scary neck injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15, has returned to practice in full, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported Wednesday.

It’s been 10 days since the injury.

Following the Miami game, head coach Robert Saleh told reporters “Elijah Riley is good. … He’s got motion, he’s got all that stuff.”

While that was welcome news, it didn’t take away from the horror of seeing the young safety motionless on the turf with players kneeling around him. But with Riley now back to practicing in full, fans can take a collective sigh of relief that the 23-year-old has emerged miraculously unscathed.

Riley missed the Jets’ Week 16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as did fellow safeties Ashtyn Davis and Sharrod Neasman, who were each placed on the COVID-19 list.

In Riley’s absence, Will Parks and rookie Jason Pinnock started at safety and each performed admirably against the Jaguars. Riley’s return makes for additional depth at safety that the Jets are in desperate need of.

Riley has appeared in five games for the Jets since being signed off the Eagles’ practice squad on Nov. 9, starting all five of those. He’s recorded a respectable 34 total tackles in his short time with the team.

A native of Port Jefferson, N.Y., Riley grew up around the Jets, attending training camp practices at Hofstra University and games in the Meadowlands. He idolized the cornerback duo of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.

Riley would go on to star collegiately at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., racking up 201 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and seven interceptions over four seasons with the Army Black Knights.

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