Team encouraged to see leader on field

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington
threw Monday for the first time since being injured in a preseason

Pennington threw about 50 times in a 20-minute period.

"It felt good," Pennington said afterward. "I'm very giddy
and very excited just to be out with the team again, putting on a
green and white jersey. I haven't had a chance to do that since
Aug. 23."

The Jets are 0-4 without Pennington, who has been replaced by
39-year-old Vinny Testaverde.

Pennington, who led the NFL in passer rating last season, said
he hoped that throwing would help the team's morale.

"The way things are right now, I think we're all just trying to
pull together," he said. "Part of my job is to come together as
well and get on the ship and kind of see what we can do with the
rest of our season. I think we need to focus on turning this thing
around if we can. And I'm going to do everything I can to help us
do that."

His teammates agreed.

"Chad's one of the leaders on this team and right now we need
as much leadership as possible," running back Curtis Martin said. "It's good to see him throwing."

Pennington, who had seven pins removed from his left hand and
wrist about 10 days is not expected back until the Jets' Nov. 9
game in Oakland at the earliest.

"It's a slow process and we're not going to rush him," coach
Herman Edwards said. "I know he's all excited about trying to
throw the ball again, so we'll see where he's at."

Edwards warned his players not to expect Pennington's return to
automatically turn around the season.

"When he comes back he has to get used to playing," Edwards
said. "It's not like he's had a lot of snaps."

Pennington wore a brace under a glove on his left hand to
protect the injury.

"The movement is not where it needs to be, but I think we're
making progress on a daily basis," Pennington said. "Any time you
have an injury like this, you're going to experience stiffness and
things like that, and we work through those things."

In an unrelated matter, defensive end John Abraham, arrested
last week for drunken driving and sent home to South Carolina by
Edwards, was not at practice as the team returned from its bye

Edwards said he expected Abraham at practice on Tuesday.

His status for Sunday's game against Buffalo isn't clear. Asked
if Abraham will play Sunday, Edwards replied: "I haven't decided
what I'm going to do."