Just three weeks ago, the Jets signed Darwin Cook, adding another Pro Bowl running back to a roster that already included Brace Hall and Michael Carter.
Monday night’s opener against the Bills will be Cook’s first for the Jets after missing the preseason with a shoulder injury.
It’s been a lot to learn about Nathaniel Hackett’s offense in such a short amount of time, but Cook is intrigued.
“I felt like I didn’t play for a minute,” Cook told The Washington Post after Thursday’s practice. “I’m ready to play ball.”
That’s a bit of an exaggeration — Cook played in all 17 games for the Vikings last season and was successful, rushing for 1,173 yards and scoring eight touchdowns.
He underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and missed most of training camp before signing with the Jets.
Regardless, the Jets are happy to take extra motivation if it’s available.
That included the chance for Cook to play his younger brother James, the Bills’ primary guard.
Darwin is five years older than James, who rushed for 507 yards last season as a rookie with the Bills.
The age gap didn’t stop them constantly pitting each other against each other as kids.
“Competitive, man,” Cook said of their relationship. “I think that’s why we’re at the level we’re at. Whatever we do, just stay competitive. I don’t care what the intensity is, we’re just a competitive bunch of guys who want to see each other succeed at a high level. I think that’s what’s propelled us to where we are today.”
Both siblings played for high-end college programs, Darwin at Florida State University and James at the University of Georgia.
After trailing Devin Singletary on the Buffalo depth chart last year, James is ready to play a bigger role.
It’s the second time the two have met in the NFL, with Darwin’s Vikings beating the Bills 33-30 in overtime last year.
The older brother scored a touchdown in a 119-22 win over his younger brother that day, but said he didn’t talk much trash.
“He didn’t get enough shots,” Darwin said. “He’s not really in control of the football, so this year should be a little bit different. So we’ll see.”
Darwin said their relationship wasn’t about trash talking or cutting ties during race week.
They talk every day and will continue to do so this week.
Darwin, who backed his brother to succeed despite their competitiveness, said Thursday that he wasn’t considering playing with him in Buffalo this offseason because “I’d never get in my brother’s way.”
Unless, of course, things go according to plan Monday.