QB won't attend off-season workouts

Updated: February 26, 2004, 6:53 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde is considering retirement.

In a statement released through the team Thursday, Testaverde said he told coach Herman Edwards and general manager Terry Bradway that he will not participate in offseason workouts with the Jets.

"In an effort to figure out what is best for my family, myself and the New York Jets ... I will not be participating in the offseason program," Testaverde said. "I am considering, unless something changes, bringing an end to my professional playing career."

The New York Daily News reported earlier Thursday that the 40-year-old veteran would be released after June 1 to lessen the salary cap hit the team takes, citing an unidentified NFL source.

The Jets did not say whether they were releasing Testaverde, a Heisman Trophy winner who has played 17 NFL seasons and was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1987 by Tampa Bay. Edwards praised the quarterback for his contributions to the organization.

"At this point of his career, we recognize his desire to re-evaluate his future," Edwards said. "Vinny is a consummate professional who represents the New York Jets and the NFL in a first class manner.

"His overall contributions to the game are a testament to his dedication, hard work and perseverance, and we support any decision he decides to make."

The Jets are grooming second-year quarterback Brooks Bollinger as a backup to Chad Pennington. Testaverde said last season he still wanted to play -- but would not become a third-stringer.

"I'd rather retire than do something that I wouldn't enjoy doing, because I'm not doing it for the money anymore," Testaverde said last December. "I'm at a different stage than I was six years ago."

With Testaverde due to make $1 million this season, he is not an expensive player.

But if the Jets cut him before June 1, they would take a $7.5 million salary cap hit because of the remaining prorated portion of his signing bonus.

However, cutting him June 1 would allow the Jets to delay $4 million toward the cap to 2005.

Testaverde lost his starting job to Pennington early in the 2002 season, and Pennington led the Jets from a 2-5 start into the playoffs. When Pennington broke his wrist last summer, Testaverde took over and went 2-5 as a starter before Pennington returned.

In 1998, Testaverde made the Pro Bowl and guided the Jets to the AFC title game. But he tore his Achilles' tendon in the first game of the next season.

In 2001, the first year under Edwards, Testaverde led the Jets to a 10-6 record and a wild-card playoff berth. Last season, Testaverde became the ninth quarterback in NFL history to pass for over 40,000 yards.

"In discussions with the Jets' organization, they have been very positive and supportive of me," Testaverde said. "I really appreciate the opportunity to have come back to New York, my home, and have enjoyed being part of some of the most successful and exciting years the Jets have had."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press