As we’ve done in years past, we’re doing our Roster Countdown series of posts as we get ready for the regular season. See the full list of players we’ve covered so far here.
Position: Defensive Line
Height / Weight: 6’4” 320 lbs
Age: 33 / Experience: 8
College: Boston College
Background: Garay attended Rahway High School where he was a state wrestling champion as a senior in 1997. On the football field, he was named one of the team captains by head coach Mike Punko and recorded 73 tackles and 10 sacks; he ended his high school career with 38 sacks. He committed to Boston College where played sparingly as a freshman in 1998 finishing with 19 tackles. He saw increased playing time as a sophomore and started three games finishing the year with 61 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. In 2000, he suffered a season ending injury in the opener. He returned the following season starting the first eight games before missing the final three with a neck injury. He recorded 57 tackles and five sacks. Garay was again a starter in 2002 and was named one of the Eagles’ team captains. Five games into the year however, he suffered a broken ankle against Virginia Tech and was lost for the rest of the year. The Cleveland Browns selected Garay with their sixth round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft but was out of work between 2004 and 2005 after suffering a torn ACL. He returned in 2006 with the Chicago Bears and played sparingly. He was injured in December 2007 on an illegal chop block that broke his leg and mangled his ankle and abruptly ended his tenure in Chicago. He would spend the entire 2008 season rehabbing his injuries. The Jets came calling in October 2009 and signed him to the practice squad. However, his stay in his native New Jersey would be brief as the Chargers signed him off the squad in December. He carved a niche for himself in California as he went on to appear in all sixteen games the next two seasons and start 15 and 13 games respectively. He recorded 105 tackles and 8 sacks in the two year span. 2012 was a disappointment as he appeared in only 8 games recording 16 tackles and a sack after suffering an ankle injury during the preseason. Released by the Chargers, the Jets signed him to a one-year contract in March.
2013 Projection: The one thing that is readily apparent is Garay’s spirited attitude. Even with all the highs and lows, he’s always has a positive outlook and he offers plenty of wisdom for the younger guys having been through so much in the last ten years. He has also proven himself a capable pass rusher and run stopper and will be a welcomed addition to a defensive line that has lacked a consistent pass rushing presence for quite some time. I’d suspect the Jets would be careful not to push him given his injury history but, even in a rotational capacity, Garay will be able to produce and thrive under the direction of Karl Dunbar as the Jets look to make their defensive line the centerpiece of their defense.