The 2009 Hall of Fame class (in no particular order) kicks off with an inspirational talent...

Let me take you back to a simpler time...

No zone blocking systems, no X's and O's

No "can Mark Sanchez make all of the throws?"No worrying about wedge blocking affecting kickoff returns

No incentive clauses, not likely to be earned

No blogging, no websites, no ESPN

No downing of punts inside the ten

No draft busts, no Kiper, no Million Dollar fines

Football was different, when I used to be nine.

I love football. I enjoy the details, the strategic intricacies and statistical analysis as much as I enjoy the brutal, emotive and spectacular competition. Back when I was nine, though, I had a much more innocent and childlike viewpoint of the game I had just discovered. The razzle-dazzle of the game had me hooked, with the futuristically-dressed players so much more glamorous than the mud-covered soccer players or sweatshirt-wearing cricket players my Father introduced to me as the epitome of competitive sport as a child. My Dad explained the rules to me, but obviously many of the finer points of NFL football escaped me. However, on this day, one player moved faster and did more exciting things than anyone else, so he instantly became my favorite...which brings us to Wesley Walker.

Football (and particularly the Jets) was a big obsession for me throughout my childhood and into adolescence and Wesley Walker remained my favorite player until his retirement after an injury-plagued 1989 season. That first game (the heroic 4 touchdown performance in a 51-45 overtime win over Miami, if you didn't click the link above) led to greater things that season, as Walker caught a career high 12 touchdown passes (also including another three against the Colts in week 11) and caught 49 passes for over 1,000 yards. The Jets went 10-6 (having been 10-1 before injuries set in), eventually being eliminated from the playoffs in the divisional round, as despite Walker catching a long touchdown pass on a flea-flicker, the Browns came back from a 20-10 deficit late in the fourth quarter and won in overtime.

The 1987 season got off to a promising start, when Walker went deep - his forte - for a 55 yard TD in an opening day win over the Bills, but the strike and injuries meant that he would only catch another 8 passes that year as the Jets went 6-9.

In 1988, he got off to a slow start, but then busted out with a three touchdown game in a blowout win over the Oilers in week three. He later added game winning scores against the Lions and Dolphins, as the Jets posted a winning record but missed out on the playoffs. He only caught 26 passes on the season, but continued to be a threat, averaging 21 yards per catch and scoring 7 touchdowns. However, by now he was a shadow of his former self, as evidenced by his dropped catch in the end-zone in a key one point loss to the Patriots in week 11. Fittingly, the game winner against Miami would be his last NFL touchdown.

After the 1989 season, where Walker started just three games and caught just 8 passes, I remember being upset when Walker, a free agent, was apparently being pursued by some other teams (including the Rams, if memory serves), but he never played for another NFL team and retired having played all 154 career games for the Jets and with 438 catches for 8,306 yards and 71 TDs and a healthy 19 yards per catch average (19th best all time - he is 6th best in terms of yards per touch).

It was only once his career had ended that I got into researching Jets history and realized that, although he was my favorite player, I had actually missed the best years of his career.

As a rookie in 1977, the speedy Walker led the NFL in average yards per reception, then in 1978, he led the NFL in receiving yards and was named as a first team all-pro. His 24.4 yards per catch average that year is still good enough for 18th best in NFL history. In 1979, he actually averaged 24.7 yards per catch, although he didn't catch enough passes to qualify for the all-time records. He missed several games in 1980, but still averaged over 20 yards per catch for the fourth straight year.

Over the next four years, the tail end of the Richard Todd era, Walker became more of a possession receiver. His reception numbers went up (including a career high 61 catches in 1983), but his average per catch droppped to the 14-16 yards per catch range. He was just as much of a red zone threat, though, catching 29 touchdown passes over that four year span, including 9 in 13 games in 1981. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, he had 620 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns in just 9 games and went to the Pro Bowl for the second time. In the postseason, he had the go ahead touchdown as the Jets defeated the Bengals and a crucial score when they held off the Raiders to reach the AFC title game.

In 1985, the introduction of draft pick Al Toon to the roster and announcement of strong-armed Ken O'Brien as full-time starting quarterback enabled Walker to return to his deep threat role. He again averaged over 20 yards per catch in each of the next four seasons. The 1985 season featured some great moments, such as when with the Jets up 17-13 against the Bengals, Ken O'Brien threw an interception to Louis Breeden at the six yard line, but he reversed his field and Walker took him down for a key safety. He also had a late game-winner against the Seahawks and a franchise-record 96 yard TD against the Bills as the Jets battled to a wild card position despite having both the team with the AFC's best record and the Superbowl runners-up in their division. Walker would miss four games though and ultimately played 16 games only three times in his 13 year career.

The 1986 season was when I first discovered Wesley and the Jets and saw Walker named as a UPI all-AFC selection even though he wasn't invited to the Pro Bowl. Clearly, his achievements speak for themselves and he is a worthy inclusion in our hall of fame.

However, although he was a fantastic player, this is not the only reason for his inclusion. Walker was inspirational, for the fact that he incredibly managed to achieve such a high level of greatness despite the fact he was legally blind in one eye. He also laid it on the line for the team, as evidenced by disturbing recent reports that he is still in constant pain due to the after effects of a nerve injury to his neck. He is still involved in the community, currently working as a teacher and doing great work for charitable causes. And, over and above all of that, he's still a Jets lifer, as evidenced by him representing the team on Jets night at Shea and apparently knocking back drinks impressively with fans at Dave and Busters 2008 draft party.

To close, however, I want to end on a personal note and take you back to that simpler time. This young newly-minted Jets fan, still only ten, wrote a letter to his new favorite player in 1987. It must have been the worst fan letter ever, just saying how exciting I found American Football to be, recounting a load of his stats and telling him he was the best. I can't imagine it made for very interesting reading and I don't think I ever expected a reply beyond my wildest dreams. A month or so later, a signed photograph came through the door addressed to me. I still have it to this day. It was clear that he had also addressed the envelope himself too. He didn't have to do that, so I am honored to get the chance to pay tribute to Wesley Walker, as a way of thanking him for what was one of the biggest thrills of my childhood.

So, thanks Wesley, welcome to the hall and we wish you good health in the future. Ladies and Gentleman, Wesley Walker...

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

Daily News Live: Reffed Up 00:03:44
The Daily News Live panel discusses the controversial "fumble" call on Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the Jets' loss.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The decision to turn an Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown on Sunday into a hard-to-explain fumble and touchback was a "clear and obvious" decision, according to the replay official who made the call.

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior VP of officiating, strongly defended his call in a conference call with reporters on Monday morning, one day after it impacted the Jets' 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots. He said the reversal of the touchdown after a video review was absolutely the correct decision based on the rule, and he didn't see anything controversial about it.

"No doubt about it, it was clear and obvious," Riveron said. "And we use that (standard) for every replay. Unless it's clear and obvious to us, we will not change the ruling on the field, and this definitely met that criteria."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Jets QB Josh McCown got off to a hot start on Sunday, but couldn't hold on to the lead as the Patriots earned the win on the road. 

The Jets jumped to a quick, 14-0 lead in the first half. However, the offense couldn't get anything going allowing Tom Brady to do what he does best and get the Pats the lead back. 

"Obviously we broke stride there and didn't keep pace the way we'd like," McCown told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "We have some short-yardage situations that we have to find a way to convert and be better at. We weren't converting and (we were) putting our defense right back out there. You can't give Tom (Brady) that many chances."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Robby Anderson
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Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (14) runs in for a touchdown against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon (30) (Brad Penner)
Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (14) runs in for a touchdown against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon (30) (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

While much of the attention from the Jets' loss to the Patriots will be focused on the controversial overturned touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Jets only have themselves to blame for giving up 24 unanswered points and letting New England back into the game.

Nevertheless, they gave a good account of themselves and, despite some glaring weaknesses, continued to prove that they're a more talented group than most people gave them credit for before the season...

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Chad Hansen, Elijah McGuire, James Carpenter, Jordan Leggett, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Wesley Johnson
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The New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine misses the catch during the 1st half against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
The New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine misses the catch during the 1st half against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets sometimes seem like they've cornered the market on finding interesting new ways to lose. Five years ago, it was the infamous "Butt fumble." This time, it was a fumble that maybe, probably, never was.

But the differences between those two plays are as stark as the differences between those two teams. The "Butt fumble" was an embarrassment on Thanksgiving 2012 that turned Mark Sanchez and the Jets into a national joke. The fumble by Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Sunday -- the "What fumble," as some have named it -- wasn't funny to anyone.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 10/15 00:11:29
The Jets Post Game Overtime crew breaks down the Jets' 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 6.

 

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Jets Post Game Live: Overturned 00:02:19
The crew on Jets Post Game Live gives its thoughts on Austin Seferian-Jenkins' overturned touchdown.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins rolled into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter and the official's arms went up, the Jets were just like everyone else in the building and watching on TV: They were sure they had just scored a touchdown.

And long after their 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots, they were still shocked, confused and absolutely livid that the touchdown was overturned.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets lose 00:03:36
Ralph Vacchiano tries to make sense of the controversial decision to take away Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown against the Patriots.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jets gave their fans quite a thrill for much longer than anyone expected. Not only were they battling for first place in Week 6 of what was supposed to be a lost season, they were leading for most of the first half.

The fact that the bubble burst on Sunday -- perhaps with a little help from the replay officials -- and the Jets ended up losing 24-17 may feel disheartening, but if ever a team could take a moral victory out of a loss, this would be the time. Yes, this was a blown opportunity for the Jets. Yes, they could've thrust themselves into a real, live playoff chase if they could only have held on to their 14-0 lead.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Bowles and McCown on 24-17 loss 00:01:58
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown break down the team's 24-17 loss to the Patriots.

The Patriots escaped MetLife Stadium with a 24-17 win on Sunday after stopping Josh McCown and the Jets ' offense on a potential game-tying drive in the final minutes. >> Box score 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Matt Forte
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Jeremy Kerley plays Pick Six 00:02:26
Jets receiver Jeremy Kerley plays Pick Six with SNY's Jeane Coakley before the Jets' home game against the Patriots.

 

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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Heading in to the 2017 season, the expectation was that the Jets would be one of the worst teams in the league and the Giants would be one of the best.

Well, the Jets are 3-2 and the injury-ravaged Giants are 0-5.

Click below for the video from The Ringer

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns, (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns, (AP)

DE Muhammad Wilkerson will play in the Jets' Week 6 matchup with the Patriots, but RB Bilal Powell is among seven players who are inactive.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Vacchiano's 3 keys to a Jets win 00:01:18
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets' victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

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New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert and outside linebacker James Burgess bring him down during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert and outside linebacker James Burgess bring him down during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The New England Patriots (3-2) vs. the Jets (3-2) at Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Cleveland Browns, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have waived wide receiver Jalin Marshal and promoted cornerback Xavier Coleman to the active roster from the practice squad, the team announced Saturday. 

Marshall had tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs before the season and was suspended four games by the the league. He was set to return from the suspension this week and had been practicing with the team. 

Tags: Jalin Marshall
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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) dances during warmups before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) dances during warmups before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

With the Jets riding a three-game winning streak heading into Sunday's matchup against the Patriots, rookie safety Jamal Adams is excited to go against a division rival. 

"It's going to be a fun matchup, man," Adams told NorthJersey.com. "We just want to go out there and compete. We don't take it any different than the previous games. We don't look at it as a Super Bowl or anything. It's just another game in front of us and we have to go out there and compete." 

So far in his first season, Adams has 18 total tackles and one sack, but struggled at times in coverage during last week's game against the Browns. Head coach Todd Bowles has been impressed with the way Adams has worked to improve after Week 5.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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Jets prepare for Patriots 00:01:40
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets practice where the team looks to keep rolling in a divisional showdown with the Patriots on Sunday.

 

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 (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
(William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets RB Bilal Powell (calf) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (toe/shoulder) are listed as questionable and will be game-time decisions on Sunday against the Patriots, head coach Todd Bowles said on Friday. 

Powel and Wilkerson missed practice the last three days.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

I think the Jets will be comfortable to give Powell the week off. With Forté back in the lineup and Elijah McGuire filling in adequately so far, it would make sense to give Powell another week to recover. New England's run defense has been shaky so far, but any Jets success in Sunday's game will likely hinge more on the offensive line than who carries the ball...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets-Pats 00:01:48
Ralph Vacchiano reports from Florham Park to get thoughts from the Jets on their upcoming matchup against a seemingly mortal Patriots team.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Remember when even some of the most diehard Jets fans were openly rooting for a full-tank, 0-16 season? And back then, even those who couldn't bring themselves to openly root against their team knew they'd be pleased if the Jets stumbled into the No. 1 overall pick.

Now they are 3-2, getting ready to face the hated New England Patriots, with first place in the AFC East on the line. The "tank" appears empty. The bandwagon is filling up...

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches his team play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

The Patriots are last in the NFL in yards allowed and passing yards, but Jets coach Todd Bowles looks past the numbers and sees a talented defense.

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Jets Game Plan: Patriots 00:05:13
The Jets Game Plan panel discusses the Jets' rivalry with the Patriots and how much Tom Brady has tormented Gang Green for years.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Tom Brady has taken a beating this season - far more than usual. In fact, the 40-year-old has already been sacked more times in five games this season than he was all of last year.

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns, (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns, (AP)

Jets RB Bilal Powell and DE Muhammad Wilkerson missed practice on Thursday for a second straight day.

Wilkerson played during the Jets' Week 5 win, with Powell injuring his calf during the game and leaving early.

"I'll be concerned at the end of the week," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said about Powell on Monday. "Right now, I'll see how the week goes, and hopefully, we can see some progress."

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Martin: Jets are playoff-bound 00:01:05
Former Jets RB Curtis Martin chats with Taylor Rooks about the possibility of the Jets making the playoffs.

The Jets will make the playoffs this season as a Wild Card team, former RB Curtis Martin said during an appearance on SNY's Timeout With Taylor Rooks podcast.

Martin added that he's not surprised with how the 3-2 team Jets have performed.

"No, I'm not surprised," he said. "I was banking on them being better than what most people thought."

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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) walks out of the tunnel before an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (AP)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) walks out of the tunnel before an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (AP)

Jets CB Jamal Adams is reveling at the chance to potentially defeat Tom Brady and the Patriots on Sunday.

The Jets play host to the Patriots as both teams are part of a three-way tiet for the AFC East lead. The matchup, however, doesn't favor the Jets as Brady and company are projected to earn the win on the road. 

But Adams is primed to do the exact opposite: He wants to defeat the quarterback he refers to as the GOAT. 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are riding high as the 3-2 Jets get ready to face their biggest rival, the New England Patriots. The guys discuss what the building is like when the Patriots are the next opponent, and what Josh McCown and the Jets need to do to beat New England. Plus, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hops on the phone to discuss the surprising offense and the job general manager Mike Maccagnan has done assembling this team.

Click below to listen!

Tags: Josh McCown
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Jets prepare for the Patriots 00:02:23
SNY's Jeane Coakley reports from Jets practice as the team prepares for their Week 6 matchup against the New England Patriots at home.

 

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Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball past New York Jets linebacker David Harris (52) during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. (Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball past New York Jets linebacker David Harris (52) during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. (Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Jets linebacker David Harris will be coming back to MetLife Stadium this Sunday for the first time as an opponent, but he won't get the warmest of greetings from his former head coach. 

"We're not going to kiss and go on a date. I'll say hi," Todd Bowles told reporters jokingly. "I don't think there's going to be time for no Dear Abby meetings on the football field."

However, Bowles did say how much Harris meant to the Jets during his time with the club. 

"David was a great leader when he was here," Bowles said. "Obviously, a class guy, great football player, great person, his work ethic was outstanding. You don't get those guys to come around often. David was one of those guys personally to me and he'll always be missed."

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 (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Patriots QB Tom Brady, who is dealing with a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder, missed practice on Wednesday for a second straight day. 

He was on the field and uniform for warmups.

Brady, who was present at the team facility before practice began on Tuesday, later had an MRI on his shoulder that revealed the injury isn't serious, according to NBC Sports...

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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson and RB Bilal Powell did not practice on Wednesday.

Wilkerson played during the Jets' Week 5 win, with Powell injuring his calf during the game and leaving early.

"I'll be concerned at the end of the week," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said about Powell on Monday. "Right now, I'll see how the week goes, and hopefully, we can see some progress."

RB Matt Forte, who missed last week's game due to a toe injury, returned to practice on a limited basis.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Juston Burris, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (David Richard/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (David Richard/AP)

Jets QB Josh McCown is not surprised at the team's 3-2 start, which has them in a three-way tie with the Patriots and Bills for first place in the AFC East.

"For us inside the building it's not surprising," McCown said on PFT Live. "We began to work back in April and May, putting our team together and working together and building our team with a goal in mind."

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Looking at the schedule before the season began, it was never out of the question that the Jets could find themselves in this kind of position at this point, without even needing to beat anyone good...

Tags: Josh McCown
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