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Healthy Pennington returns to practice



Published: Fri, January 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Jets quarterback is expected to play Saturday but Quincy Carter is out.

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -- Jets quarterback Chad Pennington returned to practice Thursday, one day after sitting out with a stomach virus.

Pennington participated in full drills, and said he felt fine heading into Saturday's playoff game at Pittsburgh.

"It was just a 24-hour virus and everything is fine now," Pennington said. "I was just hoping I could get better. I was hoping it was one of those quick things, which it was. Other than that you hurry up and get fluids and get as much rest as you can and concentrate on what you have to do."

Abraham defends statement

Quincy Carter was still absent after leaving the team to be with his ill mother in Georgia, and won't be at the game. No. 3 quarterback Brooks Bollinger becomes the backup, while former Canadian Football League player Ricky Ray will be the emergency quarterback.

Defensive end John Abraham, listed as questionable with a sprained right knee, also practiced but coach Herman Edwards said, "I doubt if he plays."

Abraham, a subject of criticism for saying last week he was concerned about playing hurt because of his future, took exception to the way he has been portrayed.

"I never said anything about a contract," said Abraham, who becomes a free agent when the season ends. "That's crazy. I said, 'my future' and it was taken out of context. The only thing I ever said was I would be happy if I got franchised here. I never said I wanted a contract. That's completely off the wall."

Abraham then stormed off without taking any other questions.

Edwards defended his Pro Bowl player, saying he still cannot use his athleticism to power rush, his specialty.

"He can't really athletically play the positions he's capable of playing," Edwards said. "When you're in that situation the best thing you can do is wait until you can use your skills. It's easy to say he can go play. It's easy to say, hard to do."

Protect Pennington

As for Pennington, he is thrilled to have another shot at the Steelers because he had such a poor game in the first meeting. Pennington had three interceptions but was in his second game back since straining his right rotator cuff.

"It's exciting because a lot of times you don't get a second chance, you don't get an opportunity to go back and play better and try to rectify the situation," Pennington said. "We have a chance to go back and not only beat Pittsburgh, but bigger than that, be in the AFC championship game and play for the championship."

Should anything happen to Pennington, the Jets could be in trouble. Carter started three games for the Jets when Pennington got hurt, going 2-1. Bollinger, a second-year player out of Wisconsin, has barely seen any game-action in a meaningful game. He came in for Carter briefly in a game at Arizona on Nov. 28 when Carter got hit hard, and played three series, going 5-of-9 for 60 yards. The Jets won 13-3.

"No matter what anybody says, it always comes down to how are you going to react in a real game situation, not a preseason game," Bollinger said.

"It was good because it wasn't a game that was a blowout. It gave me a lot of confidence and hopefully gave the guys some confidence in me as well."




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