Gordon off the market

The best free agent punt returner on the market was snapped up Wednesday, but not by the Jets. The Falcons inked Darrien Gordon to a one-year deal as the Jets, who badly need a punt returner with Santana Moss out until November, continued to hope a cheaper and more enticing option would become available during roster cuts later this month.

The Darrien Gordon Era is over before it even began at Weeb Ewbank Hall. The veteran punt returner, who was in for a tryout last week, signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday.

The Jets have been searching for a punt returner since Santana Moss went down for half the season with cartilage damage in his left knee. Gordon was the most enticing option on the free agent market and yet the Jets were curiously blasé in their pursuit of the former Charger and Bronco. First coach Herman Edwards said he would try veteran cornerback Aaron Glenn and second-year wide receiver Laveranues Coles as punt returners, but after the Jets failed to return a single punt against the Falcons on Saturday night, Edwards said the Jets planned to bring someone in this week and that Gordon was that guy.

But on Tuesday, with the Jets fully aware Gordon had worked out a day earlier for the Falcons, Edwards said he hadn't yet ruled out using Glenn and Coles for the foreseeable future. "I think we're still vacillating, we haven't made the decision," Edwards said. "It's a hard one to make because you get into the salary cap issues, so we have to make sure when we do decide [to bring in] whoever it may be that it's the best thing for the football team. I think we'll let these guys play first and then make that decision a little bit later."

Edwards did say he believed cheaper options than Gordon would become available as teams begin to make their final cuts later this month. That makes it unlikely the Jets will sign Glyn Milburn, who is believed to be on the bubble in Chicago. It would cost the Jets $477,000 to sign Milburn to the veteran's minimum, the same amount it would have cost the club to ink Gordon.

THE REST OF THE WEEK: The Jets will practice twice on Thursday and conduct a walk-through on Friday before they face the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night at the Meadowlands.


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