- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- New York Jets center Nick Mangold, apparently recovering from a hard hit in practice last week, took himself out of Monday night's preseason game against the New York Giants because he said he "didn't feel right."
On Wednesday Mangold said he feels normal again.
"Or, at least, Mangold normal," the All-Pro center said with a smile.
He practiced in full pads on Wednesday and believes he will be ready and available to play against Carolina on Saturday.
"That's my assumption going into it," he said. "I wouldn't see any reason things would change."
Mangold, who did not dress for Monday's game, said he didn't believe he had a concussion from an Aug. 11 training camp hit from Sione Pouha that knocked him out of practice for two days. He and coach Rex Ryan said that Mangold has undergone the regular testing that is part of the NFL's head injury protocol.
Mangold said he had never experienced a similar feeling, which he described as "foggy," since becoming a professional and alerted the Jets coaches to his concerns.
"I don't have the medical definition or anything," Mangold said on Wednesday. "In five years of being in the NFL I've had my share of bumps, bruises and everything in between. This time it just didn't feel right. I was fortunate we took it seriously and had the chance to sit down for it."
"He had a little bit of a headache and I said aw, forget it," Ryan said. "I played doctor on that."
Mangold said he woke up feeling "decent" on Tuesday, and then felt fine by the time he reported for camp at SUNY Cortland later that night.
One of the wittiest players on the roster, Mangold offered another zinger when he asked if he was experiencing any fogginess.
"Just when I talk to you guys," he told reporters.
Mangold added that he thanks Pouha "repeatedly" for the hit, and is hoping to parlay his malaise into a meal.
"I'm actually looking to try to get a dinner out of it," he said. "I figured that would be a good way to mend the fence, make things better."
Mangold reported for camp on time despite being unhappy with his contract situation. He's making $3.3 million entering the final year of his rookie deal, but is seeking a long-term contract extension. Despite sitting out Monday night, he insisted he didn't think about whether he might have made a mistake by reporting without a new contract.
"It's part of the game," Mangold said. "I've been fortunate that I haven't had any major injuries. I think that's also a function of me trying to play at a high level at all times. If you play not to get hurt, you're bound to get hurt."
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