Jets unsure Abraham will arrive on time
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Chad Pennington is ready to practice with his Jets teammates for the first time since offseason shoulder surgery.
The question is whether John Abraham will be there to watch Pennington take the field. The Jets are unsure whether their Pro Bowl defensive end will arrive on time when players report for training camp July 28.
Abraham was designated a franchise player but has failed to sign his $6.7 million tender because he wants a long-term deal. He has been working out on his own, missing all offseason training activities with the organization.
General manager Terry Bradway said he hasn't heard from Abraham or his agents, Tony Agnone and Rich Rosa, and said a long-term deal cannot be discussed until the tender is signed.
Coach Herman Edwards hasn't talked to Abraham in over a month. When asked whether Abraham would be there when players report, Bradway said he didn't know.
"I can't tell you when John is going to be here," Bradway said Wednesday during a lunch with New York writers. "We do expect at some point for John to be here."
Edwards said he didn't think it was a big deal if Abraham decides to hold out, even though the player is coming off a sprained right knee that forced him to miss the final four regular-season games and two playoff games last season.
"For John, he's going to knock the quarterback down. He can get out of bed and do that," Edwards said. "It's just a matter of him getting in condition. He'll be ready to play.
"Business is business. That's OK. I know John. John has a lot of pride. John wants to be a dominant player at his position. A player like that, if he doesn't report the first day, he's not going to embarrass himself coming in out of shape."
Agnone didn't return a phone message seeking comment.
Pennington has rehabbed his surgically repaired right shoulder all offseason and is eager for training camp to start. He will be limited during camp, but Edwards said Pennington will be able to take snaps and participate in practice.
Pennington started throwing again in June, four months after surgery on his rotator cuff, but never participated with his teammates during offseason training activities. He is now throwing 100 to 130 balls twice a week from about 10 to 40 yards, but isn't ready to throw every day.
"I don't want to be able to make it through a practice, I want to be able to make it through camp," Pennington said on a conference call. "My rehab process isn't done yet."
Pennington, who is working out in Florida, said he is eager to practice in full pads. "That's when you get the timing down, get the feel of the pass rush," he said.
After playing the final seven games of last season with a tear in the muscle of his rotator cuff, Pennington underwent the surgery.
"This has been a totally different challenge for me," Pennington said. "When you're dealing with a right shoulder injury, you're dealing with your career. I have to get it back to normal."
He also has missed time working with new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger on the field, though Pennington has done plenty of studying on the new offense.
"Our expectations are very high," he said. "My expectations for our team are nothing short of the Super Bowl. That's our goal, to get to Detroit and not just to get to Detroit but to win. We're a playoff team now. We need to become a championship team."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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