Despite John Abraham's return, Bryan Thomas will start the season opener in Kansas City (Jets Insider.com Photo)
With DE John Abraham ending his hold out and signing his one-year franchise tender of $6.67 million yesterday, the question will no longer be when will Abraham report but will Abraham be ready for opening day at Kansas City on Sept. 11.
To no surprise, Abraham was welcomed back with open arms today by his teammates and head coach Herman Edwards. “He’s one of our guys,” Edwards said. “The football team’s a family…All the players knew John would be back eventually.”
Since Abraham did not participate in OTA’s and training camp, he will be on a crash course to get back into game shape and be ready for opening day on Sept. 11. Abraham practiced today and Edwards gave his assessment. “He did some things,” Edwards said. “He flashed. He got a standing ovation when he went to the field. He can still come off the edge, that’s for sure.”
Abraham changed his number from 94 to 56 because May 6 is his birthday, not because it was Lawrence Taylor’s number. “I’ve always wanted number 56 but someone had it,” Abraham said.
Reporting to the Jets at 265 pounds, Abraham is about 10 pounds heavier than he was last season. “Moving around I felt good,” Abraham said after this morning’s practice. He said he has not put on pads yet.
Edwards feels the extra weight will be an advantage. “That will definitely help him,” Edwards said. “It’s solid weight. That will help him out. He has to get used to getting hit again. There’s not going to be a lot of contact drills. Not going to go live between now and Kansas City.”
DE Bryan Thomas will start on Sept. 11 but both he and Abraham will see a lot of playing time. “We rotated them last year and that’s what we’ll do,” Edwards said. “You’ll see John a little different than in the past. We’ll move him around. Sometimes you’ll see Bryan, Shaun (Ellis) and John in there at the same time. We’ll have the flexibility to use all those guys.”
Abraham said he is not going to worry anymore about anyone’s perception of him. “I’m just going to come out and play,” Abraham said. After, he ripped an old newspaper article that listed Abraham as one of the most overrated athletes in New York down from his locker and crumpled it up.
The Jets have been wary to give Abraham a long term deal due to his inability to stay healthy. Abraham has missed 23 of 80 regular-season games in his career, plus three playoff games. If Abraham can stay healthy throughout this season, the Jets most likely will lock him up long-term. “It’s not about the money,” Abraham said. “I’m 27. I just want to have security and know I’m in the same place for years to come.”
-While the big news is Abraham signing and practicing, the Jets do have a preseason game left on Thursday at Philadelphia. With the starters playing sparingly or not at all, the game will be the last chance for the young players on the team to impress. “I thought a lot of young guys practiced pretty well (today),” Edwards said. “They know they will have a great opportunity to play a lot of football.”
-With Abraham wearing #56, rookie LB Dennis Haley will wear #49.
-Despite the Jets’ current roster being at 72 players, they don’t have to make any more cuts to get down to the mandatory 65. The team has seven roster exemptions which leaves them compliant until the final cutdown on September 4th when then they will have to reduce the roster to 53 players.
-A few media outlets have reported today that the Jets may be interested in signing former Eagles DT Corey Simon who was made a free agent yesterday after Philly rescinded their franchise tag on him. Simon would surely bolster the Jets defensive line that was weakened when veteran Jason Ferguson signed with Dallas this off-season. No player this camp has stepped up to fill Ferguson's shoes and the Jets will have been platooning Lance Legree, James Reed, Alan Harper and rookie Sione Pouha in the spot.
It's unlikely though that the Jets could get Simon who is seeking big bucks. However, at this point with most team's salary caps at the brink, Simon may have to settle for an incentive based veteran contract and play for a jackpot contract next season.
-DT Dewayne Robertson (hand; knee): Out
-FB Jerald Sowell (ribs): Out
-CB Derrick Strait (groin day-to-day
-RB Cedric Houston (shoulder): day-to-day
Tomorrow’s walk through is closed to the media and then the Jets have their final preseason game at Philadelphia on Thursday. Check back to Jets Insider.com tomorrow for a full game preview.