Bradway came to the Jets from the Kansas City Chiefs, where they had a similar player to Abraham, the late Derrick Thomas, who was successfully moved from defensive end to linebacker. Bradway thought Abraham could do the same thing. Aside from thinking the speedy Abraham could excel at linebacker, Bradway also believed it could help keep him stay healthy.
Some in the Jets organization theorized that Abraham's myriad injury problems stemmed from all the wear-and-tear of being an undersized defensive end.
The talk of moving Abraham to linebacker continued into the off-season. Jets coach Herman Edwards seemed ready to pull the trigger on the move.
But stop the presses. It's not happening.
According to a Jets source, the team has decided to leave Abraham at defensive end.
The source was asked by JC, "Where do things stand with the debate over whether to have John Abraham play defensive end or linebacker?"
"I don't know that there is a great debate about it, to be honest with you," said the source. "He is going to have his hand in the dirt a lot more than anything else."
"Does that mean he is playing defensive end?" the source was asked by JC.
"Right," he said.
This conversation was a few days before the Jets signed former Oakland Raider Eric Barton to play weakside linebacker. That move finalized the decision. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, who has a 33.5 sacks over his four-year Jets career, is staying at his natural position of defensive end.
Abraham is likely relieved by this decision. He didn't seem thrilled about playing linebacker. Plus he's in a contract year, and he felt that a position change could hurt him financially because he would likely struggle.
While Abraham will move around a lot, and drop into coverage on occasion in zone blitz situations, he will primarily play defensive end in 2004.
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