Vinny returning to Jets
BY KEN BERGER AND JON HEYMAN
September 27, 2005, 11:35 AM EDT
It is shades of 1999, with the role reversed. Vinny Testaverde is returning to the Jets and will attempt to lead them out of one of the darkest periods in their history.
In a 2 p.m. news conference, Testaverde, 41, will be re-introduced to the team and city that witnessed his triumphant 1998 season immediately followed by the 1999 opener in which his season-ending Achilles injury crushed the Jets' Super Bowl hopes.
How fitting, then, that Testaverde will attempt to pick up the pieces for the Jets, who have lost Chad Pennington and Jay Fielder for the season with shoulder injuries.
The Jets also worked out Doug Johnson, Jesse Palmer, and Jonathan Quinn today and may sign one of them, too. Pennington, feared to have torn the right rotator cuff that was surgically repaired only seven months ago, is certainly out for the year. The Jets won't be able to wait out Fiedler's injury, which is believed to require as long as a 10-week recovery.
The signing of Testaverde was an about-face from the way the Jets were thinking yesterday, when they were focused on acquiring an experienced but younger replacement for Pennington. The extent of Fiedler's injury, along with limited options through free agency or a trade, made Testaverde more appealing.
Given that Testaverde hasn't thrown a pass in a game since Jan. 2, a 28-24 loss to the Giants, it seems almost certain that coach Herman Edwards will stick with Brooks Bollinger as the starter this Sunday at Baltimore. But Testaverde, who has stayed in shape while waiting for a starting job to open up, would be ready to go soon after that.
Testaverde played six seasons with the Jets from 1998-2003, leading them to the AFC Championship game in 1998. He became an unrestricted free agent in March after starting 15 games for Bill Parcells in Dallas last season, passing for 3,532 yards and 17 touchdowns with 20 interceptions.
He hasn't thrown a pass for the Jets since Week 8 of the 2003 season, when he was lifted in the middle of a game against the Eagles to make way for Pennington's return from a fractured left wrist. Pennington could not duplicate his heroics of 2002, when he replaced Testaverde after a 1-3 start and rallied the Jets to a 9-7 record and AFC East title.