Jets ink Laveranues Coles

Updated: December 6, 2010, 12:57 AM ET
By Rich Cimini |

Looking for a emotional spark before the biggest game of the season, the New York Jets confirmed they have re-signed wide receiver Laveranues Coles and will assign the speedster his familiar No. 87.

Coles joins the team for its Monday night showdown against the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

Coles broke the news around 5 p.m. on his Facebook page, writing, "In the airport on the way to New Jersey. I get to be a Jet for a weekend."

Coles' signing is likely a precursor to him retiring in the Green and White sometime in the next week or two.

In terms of motivational impact, this isn't exactly Willis Reed making an inspirational entrance, but Jets officials apparently sensed the team was down after Friday afternoon's devastating injury to Jim Leonhard. The popular safety fractured his right tibia in a freak collision, underwent surgery and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

With an open spot on the 53-man roster, the Jets turned to Coles, who, in his heyday, was respected by teammates and team officials for his toughness and leadership. This might be a bit of a reach, considering Coles isn't expected to dress for the game and hasn't played since being released by the Jets in late August.

But at least he knows what it's like to win in New England. Coles was a member of the Jets for their last two wins in Foxborough, in 2006 and 2008. Coles, who turns 33 on Dec. 29, played with the Jets from 2000 to 2002 and 2005 to 2008. He tried for a third stint in training camp, claiming he'd retire if it didn't work out -- and it didn't. He was surprisingly released by the team.

In a conversation that appeared on HBO's "Hard Knocks," coach Rex Ryan told Coles that they wanted to re-sign him after the first regular-season game, a procedural move. But that didn't materialize; the Jets ended up re-signing another receiver, David Clowney.

That became a significant decision because to make room for Clowney, they cut running back Danny Woodhead. And you know what happened next: Woodhead was signed by the Patriots, coming out of nowhere to become a contributor.

That they're bringing Coles back for a third time fueled speculation that Ryan is making good on his promise, but people close to the team said it's mostly about a morale boost.

Coles, who also played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins, has 674 catches in his career for 8,609 yards and 49 touchdowns.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for Follow him on Twitter.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter



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