ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Laken Tomlinson hears the topic and immediately knocks on the wood on the side of his locker.
Tomlinson has started 106 consecutive games at left guard, one of just six active NFL players who have made at least 100 consecutive starts.
For the Jets, he is the only lineman who has started every game at the same position this season and the only player who has not missed a snap on offense.
When told he was up to 106 consecutive starts, Tomlinson started looking for something to knock on, trying to avoid a jinx.
“That’s a lot of ball,” Tomlinson said.
Indeed it is.
Offensive linemen don’t get a lot of statistics attributed to them other than sacks allowed.
But durability is one that earns the respect of everyone in the locker room.
Tomlinson has been hurt during the streak, but always shows up on game day.
He had a hamstring injury earlier this season but battled through it.
“That’s one thing for me that I take a lot of pride in,” Tomlinson said. “I just want to be there for my team any way I can. I know being there physically is something that is extremely important for me. Just trying to give the best chance at winning any way I can. I take a lot of pride in being out there, being out there for my guys and just knowing my guys can count on me when times are tough.”
Tomlinson does not take his ability to get on the field for granted.
“Something I always do before I warm up every game, I go out there and take a picture and always put it on my SnapChat story and put ‘Blessed’ because I am blessed to get to Sunday,” Tomlinson said.
Jets coach Robert Saleh tried to avoid jinxing Tomlinson, too, but recognized what he has meant to the offense.
“I don’t want to do it to him, but he’s kind of been an iron man when you consider the O-line and what’s been happening to it for the last two years and he fights through a lot of pain,” Saleh said. “He’s always trying to find ways to maximize himself and get better and he takes a lot of it personal, which he should, but he’s been great and kind of a big stabilizing human in there at that left guard spot.”
The Jets added CB Michael Carter II to the injury report Saturday with a hamstring injury. He is listed as questionable.