Evans reinstated following substance-abuse suspension

Updated: November 4, 2003, 5:57 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Jets defensive tackle Josh Evans was reinstated by the NFL after missing the first nine weeks of the season while suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

General manager Terry Bradway said the team received a letter from the league office late Monday stating Evans could rejoin the team.

The Jets will be granted a roster exemption for the next two weeks, giving Evans time to work back into shape. There also is a chance he could be activated within the next two weeks.

Evans met with Bradway and coach Herman Edwards on Tuesday, and will return to practice Wednesday.

"All along we felt like he deserved an opportunity to be back here and we wanted to stay true to our word," Bradway said. "That's what we're doing."

Evans was suspended in June after violating the league's substance-abuse policy a third time. He was suspended twice for violating the policy during six seasons with the Tennessee Titans -- missing the first four games in 1999 and the entire 2000 season.

He appealed this last suspension and denied using marijuana. Evans could not believe it when his appeal was turned down.

"It's a situation where in life you have to take the good with the bad," Evans said Tuesday. "Regardless of how I feel about the situation, I let myself get in a situation where people have control of what you do. I let it get that far."

While being away from the team, he worked out twice a day in Florida to stay in football condition. He will work with the scout team until the Jets feel he is ready to make significant contributions.

His position has plenty of depth. Rookie Dewayne Robertson took the starting job with Evans out, and free-agent acquisition Chester McGlockton has played well in the rotation.

"There's no guarantees in this business ever," Bradway said. "I would expect that he'd come back with the same emotion and passion he had last year. We look forward to him being out there."

Evans is just eager to get back on the field after sitting out so long.

"It was very difficult considering I felt like I could help them," Evans said. "Not being able to go to war with your friends, it really bothers you. It's like my hands are tied. I had to sit back and watch. It was very painful, very, very hard for me."

Evans has had plenty of run-ins with the league. He faced an indefinite suspension for a positive test as he negotiated a free-agent contract with the Jets in 2002.

NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash upheld Evans' appeal of that suspension, and two weeks later the tackle signed with the Jets for $750,000. He enjoyed a standout season, recording a career-high six sacks, second best on the team, and 58 tackles, 47 solo.

"I have tremendous trust for Josh," Edwards said. "When he was here, he was an excellent role model. He's paid. You reap what you sow. If you don't adhere to the rules or the guidelines, you're penalized. We expect him to be a part of the football team here. We'll see what happens."

Evans believes he can make immediate contributions.

"I feel like I can go out and make plays right now, but it's not my decision," Evans said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index