As most NFL critics will tell you, the Jets wide receiving corps is virtually nonexistent. Santonio Holmes is still recovering from his Lisfranc left foot injury and won’t be ready to return until possibly the home opener against Tampa Bay. Stephen Hill is still a major question mark in his second year and Jeremy Kerley is the only reliable target on third down situations.
But a familiar face will return to Gang Green at the start of training camp. The man who has made some spectacular catches in a season and a half when Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez jump-started their Jets careers and he will don his familiar No. 17 in Green and White. Braylon Edwards who returned for the final three games of last season has been brought back for the 2013 campaign.
“(It) feels good, admitted Edwards on being back in New York. “Like I’ve always said in the past, this feel like home and I’ve hoped it for the whole offseason. I prepared myself for it, as if it was going to happen. But I’d be a liar if I said I thought it was going to happen this fast. I thought it was going to be a situation that was going to happen later on in camp, possibly. But it happened before camp, I’m here to be able to start with them so I was pretty surprised.”
The Jets are in dire need of playmaking on the outside and Edwards has produced some spectacular plays during the team's two trips to the AFC Championship Game in 2009 and 2010.Of course the biggest touchdown the wide receiver's career came during the 2010 AFC playoffs in Foxboro against the New England Patriots as Edwards was seen snatching a first down catch and dragging two defenders into the end zone for a touchdown.
The Jets would go on to upset the heavily favored Patriots in the divisional round, but eventually fall in the conference title game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Edwards still has some fond memories of his time with the Jets quarterback and wasn't shy to admit that he's rooting for No. 6 to find his groove again.
“Mark (Sanchez) is definitely a friend of mine,” admitted Edwards. “On the field as well as away from the Jets, so I wish him well and I hope he can be the guy. But at the same time, I’m a Jet first so I hope the guy that wins the job is the guy that’s going to help us prepare to the next level and takes us to the playoffs.”
While it was a decent showing for Plaxico Burress, who replaced Edwards in 2011, the Jets offense failed to produce big plays. Burress' landmark moment as a Jet came when he hauled three touchdowns against the San Diego Chargers; seemingly only time things were truly clicking.
It’s safe to say that Edwards and Sanchez can get that magic back during training camp and Jets fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that No. 17 is back in the Big Apple.